Lately it would appear that Hollywood has become really interested in trying to recapture the magic of the classic adventure romcom Romancing the Stone. Last Summer, Disney gave it a go with the overblown and forgettable Jungle Cruise, and now it’s Paramount’s turn with The Lost City. This one at least (mostly) refrains from over-the-top CGI sequences opting to instead focus on light character development and more frequent comedy, though it only winds up being a little bit more memorable.
Best-selling romance author Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is sulking her way through the start of her next book tour. She is still hurting from the death of her husband, with whom she shared a love of archeology, and would much prefer to be left alone at home. As her publicist Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) informs her that her dim-witted cover model Alan (Channing Tatum) will also be joining her, she becomes even more frustrated with the experience. After a mishap on stage, she storms off to find some peace, with Alan chasing after her, only to see her be abducted by a pair of mysterious men.
When she awakens, she finds herself in a cavernous penthouse owned by billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who believes she may hold the key to the fabled “Crown of Fire”, a priceless treasure that she references in her books and had researched with her husband. When she rather understandably refuses his offer to come help him, he forces her to come with him to a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean and sets her to try and decipher a piece of writing that he believes will lead them to the artifact.
Having witnessed the kidnapping, Alan informs Loretta and the two struggle to get any help from the Police. This inspires him to hire well known personal trainer / ex-Navy SEAL Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to take him to the island and launch a rescue mission. With Alan insisting on tagging along, it of course does not go exactly to plan, and he and Loretta wind up lost in the jungle, trying to find a way to safety while avoiding Fairfax’s goons.
Bullock and Tatum have decent chemistry together and are each perfectly chosen for their roles. They’ve both proven to be skilled at comedic work before, so it isn’t surprising to see them handle it well here. Pitt also acclimates himself well to the material while Radcliffe is somewhat less successful as the villain, though never distractingly so. The somewhat ridiculous plot actually benefits from being thinly developed, as it isn’t really that important to enjoying this kind of movie. Instead, we get enough surprises, genuine laughs and, most importantly, moments that plausibly advance our leads’ relationship with each other, all helping to make The Lost City an entertaining watch. This won’t ever be heralded as a classic, but it’s a better movie than Jungle Cruise and an all-around fun time. ★★★
RATED PG-13 FOR VIOLENCE AND SOME BLOODY IMAGES, SUGGESTIVE MATERIAL, PARTIAL NUDITY, AND LANGUAGE.
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor