The Lost City, directed by Aaron and Adam Nee and written by Oren Uziel, Dana Fox and Adam Nee, comes at the right time to make audiences laugh. I mean, it’s formulaic, but with its slapstick humor and smoldering leads Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, the film is a deserved addition to the treasure-hunting adventure film genre.
Loretta Sage (Bullock) is an author of romance novels who just finished a new story. She speaks of adventures, buried treasure, and lost, ancient cities in her books while deciphering dead languages. Since her husband died, she lives as a recluse while harping on the past. Her publicist Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) arranges a book tour featuring the male model representing Dash, a character in her book. His real name is Alan (Tatum), and they do not get along.
Dressed as a Solid Gold dancer, Loretta’s first stop on tour is a disaster. No one is there for her. They want to see Dash shirtless. After being annoyed by the ordeal, she leaves the event and is subsequently kidnapped and brought face to face with billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe). He’s been searching for the lost city of D to find the crown of fire—both are things she’s written about in her books. Fairfax located the city but needs her to translate precisely where the crown is held and believes Loretta is the only one who can translate the map of its location. Alan is the only person who witnessed Loretta being taken by strange men and plans to rescue her by any means necessary.
The Lost City takes a lot of its cues from films like Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone, and every other movie of this type. It fails to stand on its own with so much being pulled from earlier creative works, but that’s not a bad thing. The Lost City is fun, and the sparks between the lead actors pump life into this film. Individually, Bullock and Tatum are incredibly charismatic as individuals, but as a duo, they create a rhythm of movement and sound that causes their dynamite chemistry to leap off-screen and smack you in the face.
They also aren’t afraid of slapstick or physical comedy. When Miss Congeniality premiered at SXSW in 2000, Bullock, for a time, was the reigning queen of comedy. After starring in Paul Feig’s The Heat, the actress starred in more serious roles and darker comedies, but with The Lost City, Bullock shows she’s still got it in her to fall and look silly for laughs. Tatum also has a résumé filled with primarily comedic roles, which he has honed and excels at. He takes pride in using his looks and charm, acting like a class clown.
The directors’ work isn’t remarkable in any way, but it’s certainly easy to tell they love what they do. Bullock and Tatum are the glue that holds this film together and are infinitely more interesting than what’s happening around them. Without them, The Lost City would not have sustained through its nearly two-hour run time. The duo is naturally funny and knows how to add levels of vulnerability to any role they tackle. Most of all, they know how to have a good time, and the energy they emit is infectious.
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