The Lost City can best be described as a comedy-action-romance movie. Or perhaps a comedy-romance-action movie. But definitely not a romantic comedy movie, and it is better for it. Sandra Bullock, returning to comedy (think Miss Congeniality) plays a romance writer who is kidnapped by a rich guy (Daniel Radcliffe) who wants her help finding the apparently real treasure she wrote about in her latest novel. Amazingly, the writers do an admirable job of making the premise actually make sense. Channing Tatum plays the Fabio-esque cover model for all of her books who tries to rescue her. What ensues is the expected mismatched couple adventure that feels a bit like Romancing the Stone (and yes, I realize that is a really dated reference). By dialing down the romance angle, dialing up action, and leaning hard into the comedy, this movie exceeds expectations.
I had a few revelations during the movie. Sandra Bullock is a master of two things; delivering her lines in an endearingly funny awkward way and physical comedy. She’s not over the top like Jim Carrey, but every stumble, pratfall, and shocked expression is basically perfect. If you like Sandra Bullock comedies, you’ll get exactly what you expect (though I’m sure some find her schtick annoying). Channing Tatum has similarly mastered his thing – playing an incredibly good looking guy who is somehow awkward and endearing. That doesn’t seem to happen much in real life, but Tatum nails it. I really don’t want to like Channing Tatum (yes, out of jealousy), but I keep finding myself liking his movies (and he seems like a decent enough fellow). While I didn’t expect their pairing to work, the two end up having decent chemistry that really helps sell the plot and jokes.
If you are fans of Bullock or Tatum, you probably have a decent idea of what to expect. But in the interest of fair warning, I’ll provide a public service announcement. The Lost City isn’t shy about using juvenile sex jokes befitting its PG-13 rating. The book that led to her being kidnapped is titled The Lost City of D and the movie mines that title for the obvious joke (yet does so effectively). There’s a scene in the trailer where Bullock has to remove leeches from Tatum’s back. Well, let’s just say the scene goes much much farther (and parents if you don’t want your kids to see a butt, you’ve been warned). Not all the jokes are about sex, but there’s enough there to make the 13 year old in you giggle.
The Lost City isn’t groundbreaking, but it is surprisingly funny. I have no reservations about recommending it as a date movie, even for people who tend to loathe romantic comedies (like me). The plot, while juvenile on the surface, hangs together very well and features a decent message and character arcs.
If you’d like to hear Tracey and I discuss this movie, here is our review on the Through the Lens podcast: https://anchor.fm/darren-shulman/episodes/The-Lost-City-e1g7bcf
Score: 8/10 because The Lost City exceeded my expectations (and I really appreciate Sandra Bullock’s work)