Sunday, June 05, 2022

"The Lost City": two-paragraph review

"The Lost City" is a 2022 comedy adventure directed by the Nee brothers in the vein of "Romancing the Stone." It stars Sandra Bullock and the much-younger Channing Tatum as Loretta Sage and Alan Caprison. Sage lost her archaeologist husband some years back; she and her husband were both heavy into ancient languages and cultures, but when Loretta lost her husband, she turned to writing racy romance novels that used her knowledge of archaeological trivia to fill out her plots, which were little more than dressed-up sex fantasies. Loretta has become very successful in this subgenre, and Alan Caprison is the muscular model whose image is used as part of the cover art for her novels, the most recent of which is a fairly limp story called The Lost City of D. Loretta, prodded by her agent/publicist Beth (Da'Vine Joy Randolph), grudgingly goes on a promo book tour with Alan; the tour doesn't go well, and Loretta gets kidnapped by Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), a rich superfan who has shrewdly noted that, in the midst of all the sex in her novels, Loretta actually incorporates legitimate archaeological facts. Fairfax has been in search of the actual Lost City of D on which Loretta's novel is based, and he wants her to translate some ancient documents that might contain information as to the whereabouts of a legendary "crown of fire" that is presumably studded with jewels. Fairfax has found the fabled island, but he can't find the actual site where the crown is located without Loretta's help. Alan, meanwhile, sees Loretta get kidnapped, and he decides to go after her with the help of an ex-Special Forces operative named Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt in a long cameo). Jack doesn't want the clumsy, oafish Alan to come along, but it turns out that Alan is Loretta's only real hope when the initial rescue goes awry.

Sandra Bullock is 57 years old, and she spends much of the movie dressed in a ridiculously skin-tight sequined onesie that Loretta was told to wear while on her book tour. Bullock looks pretty good for 57. Other critics have wryly noted the reversal of the usual age-gap problem: Channing Tatum is 42. But why not pair a much-older woman up with a much-younger man, right? Love doesn't ask why! And on that note, yes, the film follows a predictable arc as Loretta and Alan start off in a prickly way but eventually warm up to each other. It's not a particularly believable arc, given that Alan is fairly dim, and Loretta is a scholar at heart. Daniel Radcliffe has his humorous moments as the man-child villain; the movie is self-aware enough to give us one or two jokes about how the bad guy looks too young to take seriously. Brad Pitt makes the most of his cameo as a grizzled vet, oozing competence and owning the scenes he appears in. That said, although I appreciated the chemistry between Tatum and Bullock, I didn't find the movie to be much more than unmemorable fluff. Overall, it wasn't laugh-out-loud funny, and some of the humor felt rather forced. I can see how older viewers might find the film cute as a throwback to previous decades, but I found the film to be largely substance-free. (And who brings their cover model along on a book tour? And why would fans of the author find the cover model more interesting than the author?) Watch "The Lost City" at your own risk.

1 comment:

John Mac said...

"...a fairly limp story" Don't be so hard on her.