Cute and Lots of Fun
Expecting a film like The Lost City to be rich with meaningful ideas and impactful motifs would be setting expectations way too high. Thatís just not why people are attracted to romantic adventure films like this one. However, being pleasantly surprised that there is actually a theme Ė as slight as it is Ė beneath all the goofy shenanigans, is an added bonus and a much-welcomed ambush. Just one of several pleasant surprises.
Thatís not to say it makes The Lost City a great film. It isnít. However, its palpable chemistry, star-studded cast, dopey humor, and stunning jungle locations will provide enough charm and attraction to delight a broad swath of movie goers. And maybe thatís just what the movie industry needs right now.
Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a once thriving romance novelist currently struggling with anxiety following the unexpected death of her husband. She knows the latest novel in her "Lost City" series isnít up to snuff, but her energetic publicist (DaíVine Joy Randolph) sends her out on tour to promote it anyway. Accompanying her will be Alan (Channing Tatum), the doltish but charming cover model whose image graces the novelsí dust jackets.
Things get hairy, however, when Loretta is kidnapped by powerful billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who thinks Lorettaís novels hold the secret to the location of the coveted and valuable Crown of Fire from her novels. But itís Alan to the rescue as he tracks them to an isolated island in the Atlantic where he hooks up with his meditation guru, Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to help rescue Loretta from the evil henchmen. By the way, Jack is also an ex-marineÖ and a mercenary, yet closely resembles the real-life action hero that Alan pretends to be in the novels.
What follows is an endless stream of silly mishaps, close calls, and stupid happenstances that in any other movie would wreck the whole experience. But the chemistry and magnetism shared by Bullock and Tatum, coupled with the pairís rat-a-tat-rat comedic delivery saves the whole thing. The remainder of the cast, including Radcliffe's bad guy and Pitt's hilarious cameo, is just hammy enough to fit in perfectly with the film's tongue-in-cheek intentions.
In addition, thereís the unexpected thread of learning to never judge a book by its cover that ties everything together with an emotional resonance as we watch the romantic connection between the two blossom. Yes, the jokes are stupid, and we are always one step ahead of the highly formulaic script. But, darn if the thing isnít actually quite cute and tons of fun. Itís even hilarious at times with more than one laugh out loud moment.
Make no mistake, though. The Lost City wonít even come close to blowing your socks off. It does nothing new or original and its Romancing the Stone similarities canít be denied nor can they be excused. But hats off to directors Adam and Aaron Nee for understanding what they have and for playing to those strengths. The Lost City is well structured and steadily paced even if it does play it way too safe most of the time. But most importantly, it will make you happy. What more could we ask for as theaters begin to ramp up for the summer movie season?
(Released by Paramount Pictures and rated ďPG-13Ē for violence and some bloody images, suggestive material, partial nudity and language.)
Review also posted at www.franksreelreviews.com.