‘The Lost City’ is something of a rarity these days: a big budget, live-action studio film with an original screenplay. Well, original insofar as it’s not directly based on any existing property: this is essentially ‘Romancing The Stone’ for the Instagram generation. Still, for those fatigued by franchises, this action romcom offers a refreshing change.
Sandra Bullock plays Loretta Sage, a novelist who churns out the romantic escapades of Dash McMahon, a hunky Fabio-esque adventurer portrayed by dimwitted cover model Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum). Sage is kidnapped by billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who believes her latest novel proves she’s the key to finding a hidden treasure on a remote Caribbean island. This prompts Alan to try to become a genuine hero.
There’s nothing exactly surprising about the screenplay. Anyone who’s seen their share of romantic comedies or Indiana Jones-style treasure hunts will find this a pretty predictable romp. However, the film proves what a difference the right casting makes. Bullock and Tatum are perfect in their roles, and the film flies on their frothy chemistry. Tatum, in particular, excels as a buff bimbo with puppy-like loyalty, easily earning the biggest laughs.
The film also features a killer cameo from Brad Pitt, in his first role since nabbing the Oscar. Pitt’s always been underrated as a comic actor (he stole the show in Burn After Reading), so it’s a thrill to see him send up movie-star machismo. Radcliffe, meanwhile, is clearly having a blast as the villain. While he gives an enjoyable turn, the Hogwarts alumnus never overcomes his innate likeability to be anything close to menacing.
The film relies a little too heavily on what seems like the improvised interplay of its stars. Adam and Aaron Nee’s direction is conventional, with none of the inventive visual humour that you’d find in comedies by Edgar Wright or Lord & Miller. It’s all too hackneyed to match up to the classics it pays homage to. Still, the filmmakers keep things moving along at a brisk pace and deliver a perfectly fine piece of popcorn entertainment, free of pretension and tongue firmly in cheek.
A fun, if forgettable, romcom adventure that coasts on the charm of its leads. Sometimes a little star power is all you need for a good time.
Bruce Micallef Eynaud is the creative director at VSQUARED and is also a filmmaker, working mainly in commercials and short films. He’s also a movie geek with an MA in Film Studies. His favourite filmmakers are Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson and Richard Linklater.