Films like this are comfort food to me, heralding back to the days when Indiana Jones graced our screens and Robert Zemeckis’s Romancing the Stone charmed the world. The concept is pretty cut and dry: insert two attractive people with sexy-but-antagonistic chemistry into the jungle to search for an ancient treasure, all while being hunted by a wealthy white man (the villain’s personal psychological issues may or may not play a role in the story, as needed). It’s a tried and true formula, one that I’ve been missing lately. Disney’s Jungle Cruise offered an odd, but not unsatisfying, hit of that dopamine rush.
Now? Oh, well now we’re getting somewhere.
The Lost City chronicles the adventure of a novelist that is just completely over it. Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a highly intelligent anthropologist that could never get anyone interested in her histories. She turned, instead, to using horny romance novels instead, placing real history into her stories to satisfy her need to teach while making piles of money as a bonus. Loretta’s husband passed five years ago and she’s now having trouble getting into her romances when her own love life is gone. She’s got a devoted assistant, Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), that is pushing her as hard as she can to finish the new novel and go back on tour. Her social media assistant, Allison (Patti Harrison), is charming but hilariously incompetent. Perhaps the worst aspect of Loretta’s life is Alan (Channing Tatum), her hunky but ditzy cover model that hogs more attention than her stories. After the release of her latest novel, The Lost City of D, she is kidnapped and brought before Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe quietly hacking off whole hocks of ham). The eccentric media mogul thinks she can find the real lost city of D, which her novel is based on, and drags her to the tropics while Alan rushes to save her.
This is a story you’ve seen before. Hell, it really is the same plot as most of Romancing the Stone. That’s the one real issue I have with the film, but everything else is so adorably charming that I cannot help myself. From the small role played by Brad Pitt to the surprisingly real chemistry between Tatum and Bullock, everything just pays out in ways that are unexpected and hilarious. This is first and foremost a comedy, one that stars two of the funniest leads in Hollywood, and it never loses focus. Even Daniel Radcliffe, who might just be the best actor in the entire film and is giving a more directly specific performance, is hilarious in his enraged earnestness. It’s a great foil to Tatum, who is playing directly into his “hot and loveable galoot with a heart of gold” persona. Bullock is giving you Sandra Bullock, a very welcome change of pace after some of her more dramatic roles left me high and dry (looking at you, Bird Box).
That’s honestly it. It’s an absolute blast of a film, one that has few plot surprises and a lot of laughs delivered by its captivating leads. The Lost City is one of the most fun films I’ve watched in quite some time, earnest and sexy, and I hope you all give it a shot. Also…just a huge “welcome back” to Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock, who have not graced our screens in this fashion for quite some time. We missed you.
The Lost City is currently playing in theatres.