Date night movies have been few and far in between as far as theatrical releases go, so I was eager to see “The Lost City” with my girlfriend. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.
The film follows middle-aged romance novelist Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), who exits a conference for her new book embarrassed after she unexpectedly rips off the wig of cover model Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum), who has portrayed Dash McMahon, the protagonist of her books, for a number of years. This draws the ire of Beth Hatten (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), her publisher, who has invested heavily in her new book and stands to lose everything if it tanks. It’s at this point where Sage is kidnapped by the goons of billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), and is flown against her will to a tropical island, as he believes that she is the only person who is able to translate a native dead language describing the secret location to an ancient treasure.
Caprison, who has feelings for Sage, enlists the help of former Navy Seal Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to rescue her, though the mission takes an unexpected turn when Trainer is supposedly killed by Fairfax’s men, leaving Caprison and Sage alone. Meanwhile, Hatten tries to get to the island to rescue them, but meets multiple obstacles in a series of misadventures that serve as the film’s B plot.
Apparently Sage’s deceased husband was an archaeologist, and this sparks an interest to find the ancient artifacts in order to preserve their history despite the danger, which creates a brief rift between her and Caprison. The film, however, is a romantic adventure-comedy, so they eventually make up, and it does a genuinely good job of developing a connection between Sage and Caprison, powered by Bullock and Tatum’s chemistry.
The film’s adventure elements work quite well — my girlfriend noted that it was perhaps a better “Uncharted” movie than the recently-released live action film of the same name. “The Lost City” has very little bloat and its adventure elements are simple but effective; we don’t get dragged into an over-the-top, CGI-heavy third act set piece that ruins the experience (unlike “Uncharted” the film).
With that being said, the film also doesn’t do anything exceptional. Outside of Bullock and Tatum’s onscreen relationship that is the core of the film, everything else works just as much as it has to in order to get by. Hatten’s side plot doesn’t add much to the film, other than serve as a means to introduce the comedic relief cargo pilot Oscar (Oscar Nuñez), who serves as the equivalent of a Rob Schneider side character in an Adam Sandler romantic comedy; he has no substance, but is likeable and gets a few laughs.
Radcliffe’s casting was perhaps the biggest missed opportunity, as his character doesn’t take advantage of his range, and the role is so one-note that he wasn’t able to do anything interesting with it.
“The Lost City” is about as average a romantic comedy with adventure elements to it that you can get, but during a time where there are slim pickings among films in this genre playing in the theater, that’s all it needs to be.
“The Lost City” gets a 6/10