“A reclusive romance novelist on a book tour with her cover model gets swept up in a kidnapping attempt that lands them both in a cutthroat jungle adventure.”

Director: Adam Nee, Aaron Nee
Writers: Oren Uziel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee, Aaron Tree, Seth Gordon
Staring: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Rated: PG-13
Release Date: March 25, 2022

Lorette Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a author of a romantic book series that is waning in popularity. Her latest book is an effort to try and recapture the success and passion she once had, but she is not to enthused to go on the book tour put on by her friend and publicist Beth Hatten (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). Her lack of luster is exacerbated when Alan (Channing Tatum), the romantic book cover model, joins her on her book tour appearance. The two have a tepid relationship at the start, to put it kindly.

The chaos of The Lost City hits its stride when Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) kidnaps Loretta for a personal quest. The eccentric millionaire is looking for the same treasure that Loretta has studied and written in her latest novel. He has a desire to find this treasure (he thinks it to be literal and not metaphorical) to soothe his Napoleon complex. Alan sees Lorette get kidnapped, and so begins the chase.

While Beth is dealing with federal agencies and difficult airline operators in her attempt to help Loretta, Alan calls up Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to help him get to the remote island that Loretta is being held by Abigail. Soon the author and her invented hero portrayer are reunited in the dense remote jungle and the adventure turns from a rescue mission to a treasure hunt. There are chase sequences, bad guy monologues, touching heroic gestures, and comedic convenient tomfoolery.

If you are for a comparison to The Lost City, don’t look too far. There are direct references to Romancing The Stone (1984) in the script. If you liked Jungle Cruise (2021) or a sillier version of The African Queen (1951), then The Lost City fits into your collection.

Channing Tatum is fantastic in comedies. 21 Jump Street (2012), Logan Lucky (2017), This Is The End (2013), Free Guy (2021) and now The Lost City. Even if these movies are not extraordinary, Tatum is a bright spot that helps everyone around him. He has the innate ability to play the beautiful dumbass quite well. He can also dive a little into the quiet emotional guy not to be underestimated. All of it is doses, and in The Lost City it is the proper prescription.

Tatum has fine chemistry with Sandra Bullock, but his best parts came in his brief screen time with Brad Pitt. Tatum has everything he needs to in order to be the coolest guy in the room, but he is willing to let it all go and let Pitt take the long-haired romantic heroic lens. His character of “Dash” pokes fun at this very thing. Alan when he has on the blonde wig and is asked to take his shirt off is playing a part he knows is successful but that he doesn’t love doing. His true self in the story is the bald, fun-loving, endearing of over eager chatterbox. Not obviously this character may be played up a bit compared to real life, but I am bold enough to draw the probably over-thought connection.

Channing Tatum as Alan

Daniel Radcliffe really enjoys playing zany. I never could have thought this based off his Harry Potter days. Credit to Radcliffe for completely embracing the absurd and keeping his career flourishing. Radcliffe as Abigail Fairfax reminds me of his role in Now You See Me 2 (2016) as Walter Mabry. He is the short statured over confident bad guy with a huge Napoleon complex. In The Lost City, his absurdness is cringe, just as it is meant to be. No one is meant to buy him as menacing. He is a whiny rich boy who doesn’t get what he wants. The role is not filled with depth so it is up to Radcliffe to make it watchable. He does exactly that, nothing more, and nothing less.

Side note, are you guys excited for Radcliffe in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022)? I can’t tell if it will be so weird that I like it, but the trailer had my confused about potential enjoyability.

Let’s get to the name on top of the poster. Sandra Bullock.

Does anyone dislike Sandra Bullock? I would be hard pressed to find anyone. And The Lost City isn’t going to be creating a new clan of disapproving followers.

As the leader character Loretta Sage, Bullock delivers everything that you need. You can draw the line with Tatum playing a part that was a bit like himself in reality, and one can see a parallel with Bullock as well. Bullock was a coveted star with Oscar win and plenty of comedic, drama and action movies to her name, but she had not been in a hit movie in quite some time. Bird Box (2018) was a streaming hit, but short lived with the Netflix timeframe. You have to go back to the turn of the 2010s when Bullock was dominating Hollywood with The Proposal (2009), The Blind Side (2009), Heat (2013) and Gravity (2013).

In The Lost City, Bullock is playing a author who is past her prime and wondering where her career is going with her money-making genre and formula being phased out. Hmmm….

Enough with the theorizing. Bullock is good. She is not one of the top two performers in the movie, but she glue that keeps it together. She allows Tatum, Radcliffe and the other performers to get wonky because she is able to bounce off of everyone turning it up to eleven. The worst think about the character of Sage is that horrendous purple sequin onesie. Her character made of it in the movie, and rightfully so.

The breakout star of this movie is Da’Vine Joy Randolph. She is absolutely delightful as the Loretta’s PR manager. she has the perfect amount of screen time. Not too little where her comedic banter is forced, but not too much where it becomes an overbearing chore. I have seen projects with Randolph in it like Dolemite Is My Name (2019), but nothing where she stood out quite like this. It would appear that she is on the up-and-up with The Lost City and the highly acclaimed Only Murders In The Building on Hulu.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Beth Hatten

The Lost City is directed by the brothers duo Aaron and Adam Nee. This is their first big budget project, but they do have a tendency for treasure hunting stories. Their previous movie was Band Of Robbers, which is about modernized versions of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn grown up and hunt for hidden treasure. For upcoming projects, they are writing and directing the forth coming Masters Of The Universe movie which is scheduled to come out in 2024.

The Lost City is one tier above Uncharted (2022). While both stories are formulaic, The Lost City embraces the absurdity on more levels and there are more shocking moments that make you want to rewind and double-check your vision. The zaniness level is high enough where the suspension of disbelief becomes far more swallowable. Tatum is really in his element as a comedic foil and Bullock acts out her role with the stubbornness charm that made her Miss Congeniality (2000) character Gracie Hart so entertaining. The Lost City is the quintessential family action/adventure movie that is just enough for both kids and adults.

STANKO RATING: B (3.5/5 Stars)

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