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Review: The Lost City (2022)

The Lost City (2022)

Directed by: Aaron Nee and Adam Nee

Premise: A romance novelist (Sandra Bullock) with a background in archeology is kidnapped by a wealthy villain (Daniel Radcliffe) in search of a lost treasure. The cover model (Channing Tatum) of her books attempts to rescue her.

What Works: The Lost City is intended to be a light adventure movie. It is in the same genre as Romancing the Stone and The African Queen and The Lost City generally succeeds in offering a mix of adventure, comedy, and romance. The film benefits the most from its casting. The film pairs Sandra Bullock with Channing Tatum and the two of them are an agreeable on-screen couple. Bullock’s character is a widowed writer whose real passion is archeology but she has made a living writing smutty romantic adventure novels. The author is better than the books she’s writing and that deficit has left her unfulfilled. Channing Tatum plays a cover model who has achieved fame and fortune as the public face of these novels. In recent years, Tatum has found success playing likable dunces and lampooning his public image. That’s the case here and although the character is not especially bright he is earnest in a way that makes him appealing.

What Doesn’t: The humor of The Lost City is hit and miss. Bullock and Tatum work well together but the physical comedy is less consistent. The story cuts away from the jungle to the author’s manager (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) trying to arrange transportation and this material isn’t very funny. The Lost City is primarily an adventure movie but that element is sorely lacking. Part of the problem is the set pieces. The film doesn’t have any standout action sequences in which the characters are in jeopardy. In fact, quite a bit of the movie looks as though it was shot on a jungle set and several images look like process shots in which the jungle was added in post-production. As a result, The Lost City has an artificial feel. It rarely plays as though these characters are in real danger or even in the jungle. The other major problem is the lack of stakes. Bullock’s character has been kidnapped by a wealthy scion played by Daniel Radcliffe. He’s doing his best but Radcliffe is not a threatening villain. Just as important, there are no dramatic stakes associated with the treasure. It doesn’t matter who finds the treasure or even if it is recovered at all.

Bottom Line: The Lost City is a middling adventure movie. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum make this picture watchable but The Lost City is the kind of movie that viewers can play without paying close attention because nothing in it actually matters.  

Episode: #896 (April 3, 2022)