It is somewhere between the silliness of Red Notice and the optimistic “second-chance-at-love” of Marry Me.
Director: Adam Nee, Aaron Nee
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt, Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Genre: Adventure comedy
Language/Country: English / USA
Duration: 1 hr 52 min
‘The Lost City‘ is a comedy-adventure film about a popular author who gets kidnapped by a crazed businessman; she is then compelled to go on a search for a mythical object on a remote island.
Sandra Bullock plays Loretta Sage, a well-known author of a series of romance-adventure novels. She is in what you would call a crisis. She has writer’s block. She’s also mourning the death of her husband for the last five years. Initially, Loretta was an archaeologist and had deep knowledge of ancient scripts of the Americas. But failing to get her book on archaeology published, she turned to historical fiction instead which becane instantly successful. But Loretta is disillusioned by the fame and the constant demands to get the next book out. The publicist, Beth Hatten (played by Da’Vine Joy Randolph), is only adding to the pressure.
In the opening scene, we get to experience Loretta’s “writing block” as we are inside her mind. The author imagines herself as the heroine in her novels, the archaeologist Dr. Angela Lovemore. She is in a dungeon deep inside a pyramid with her love interest, Dash McMahon (played by Channing Tatum). The lovers are surrounded by a villain and his goons. The author then notices some logical inconsistencies in this scene and decides to scrap the whole scene off her laptop. Delete. This scene is fun to witness and one wishes we could have seen more of such scenes. But these internal dialogues vanish as the movie gets on with the high scale action and explosions instead.
Along with playing Loretta’s imagined character of Dash, Channingl Tatum also portrays Alan Caprisun, the beloved cover model of Loretta’s books. Alan is an archetypal himbo: a beefcake with a heart of gold, who’s not the smartest. The movie constantly comments on his physique and pulls jokes on his lack of critical thinking. During a heated argument, Alan calls Loretta “a human mummy”. A character watching them corrects Alan, “Excuse me, sir. But humans are mummies”. It’s chucklesome.
Daniel Radcliffe plays Abigail Fairfax, a billionaire criminal and the villain in the story. He has read about the ancient city and the mythical “crown of fire” in Sage’s books. Believing the crown to be real and extremely priceless, he has located it on a remote island in the Atlantic. He is convinced that by getting Loretta to translate the ancient script he has in his possession, he can pinpoint to the exact location of the crown. And so, his goons kidnap Loretta and whisk her away to the island, much to the author’s chagrin.
Alan, who is secretly in love with Loretta, sees her being taken away in the car. So he takes the help of Jack Trainer (a splashy cameo from Brad Pitt) in locating the island and together, go to rescue her.
The film is definitely entertaining. Its greatest strength lies in the screen power of Bullock and Tatum, as expected. Their chemistry is simultaneously hilarious and sweet. And Sandra taps into her physical comedy schtick for some laughs, it’s something she made popular in classic oughties comedies such as Miss Congeniality and The Proposal. Once again, the charm of the adorable Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum just oozes in every scene and saves the less compelling scenes from drowning. The action is bombastic, like Indian masala films.
Daniel Radcliffe carries his brunt of the work and does it admirably. Unhinged, dramatic and amusing, Radcliffe delivers the charming performance we have come to expect from him.
The initial scenes of the movie are set in a city (New York?), and takes digs at celebrity culture. Beth hires a new social media manager named Allison (Patti Harrison). The new employee tries her hardest to be relatable and “cool”, by tweeting nonchalantly on Loretta’s Twitter account, taking countless pics of the author, and even dabbing. The comedy style significantly shifts as the action moves from the city to the island. The humour becomes more action-oriented and slapstick.
But often, comedy films make the mistake of taking a joke that isn’t very funny, and run with it. Building on it more and more, it becomes a thread of one not-so-funny joke after another. This is how some of the jokes in the movie are, such as when Loretta tries to explain the difference in using and not using an apostrophe in a sentence. Or Jack Trainer being an actual trainer. Or Abigail Fairfax heavily insisting that his name is gender neutral.
Ultimately, The Lost City is a brainless action film that is nevertheless entertaining and worth a watch. It is somewhere in a cross between the silliness of Red Notice and the
optimistic “second-chance-at-love” of Marry Me. Marry Me certainly can be compared to The Lost City, with two famous women who share a history of loss/failed love, finding love again with unlikely men.
This movie is a fun family watch and will leave you with an upbeat mood, something we can all do with in these unpredictable times.
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