Don’t judge a book by its cover (model) is one of the themes of The Lost City. Well I guess the lesson for me is don’t judge a movie by its trailer. When I first saw it, I was convinced it’ll be an atrocious, unwatchable movie… but it turns out to be a blast! Ok so as Stephen Colbert said to Sandra Bullock when she was on the Late Night Show, ‘boy was that dumb!’ It sure was… a big dumb fun action-adventure, but everyone involved is well aware of its own sheer goofiness and fully embraces it.
Bullock plays Loretta, a reclusive romance novelist who reluctantly agrees to do a book tour with her cover model Dash (Channing Tatum). Her pushy manager Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) has already arranged the whole thing, down to the glittery Fuschia jumpsuit Loretta has to wear for the event. Loretta is so self-conscious but she definitely rocks that sexy sequin look without making it look sleazy. Bullock has an effortless comedic timing that makes her so fun to watch, plus she’s too darn likable you still love her when she’s being all curmudgeon and grumpy. Tatum is all game with poking fun at his matinee idol looks as the dimwitted-hunk-with-heart as he channels his inner Fabio. The moment Loretta’s smartwatch got caught in his blond mane is absolutely hilarious!
Well he’s not the only one sporting long blond tresses in the movie. Brad Pitt has a scene-stealing cameo as a hunky soldier of fortune Jack Trainer hired to rescue Loretta when she gets kidnapped by a billionaire named Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe). With a name like that, he’s bound to be a baddie! If the premise sounds familiar to you, well it’s because it’s practically a carbon copy of Romancing The Stone (1984) where Kathleen Turner plays a romance novelist also involved in a kidnapping scenario and Michael Douglas plays the soldier of fortune. There are also plenty of Indiana Jones influences here, especially in some of the scenes from the novel. The comedic style also feels like an 80s/90s slapstick comedy, but the strong chemistry of the cast makes it very enjoyable.
The jungle adventure is far from gritty, everything looks kind of staged despite it being filmed in the Dominican Republic. There are some of the nefarious schemes involving guns and bombs, but none of it is the least bit ominous nor suspenseful as it’s designed to deliver the laughs. That sequin jumpsuit is quite a brilliant idea that the filmmakers, Adam and Aaron Nee continue to milk for all its comedic worth. The entire movie is basically a screwball chase sequence through the jungle where Loretta and Dash somehow manage to outwit Fairfax’s goons.
The entire cast seems to be having a blast filming this… especially Bullock and Tatum. The latter didn’t even mind stripping down, a practically full-frontal sequence that got some loud reactions from Tatum’s fans during the screening. Apparently, Ryan Reynolds was originally cast in Tatum’s role but I’m glad it ends up being Tatum, as I’m pretty bored seeing Reynold’s usual schtick. In any case, Pitt was so hilarious that I wish he had more screen time but he sure was the scene-stealer here. I quite enjoy seeing Randolph as Beth and she’s got some droll moments with Oscar Nuñez.
The Lost City doesn’t earn brownie points for originality, but this is a prime example where the fun rapport of the cast can elevate a so-so script. I have to hand it to Bullock for still being able to poke fun at herself and make a ridiculous, silly premise work simply by being her funny, adorable self. It’s the quintessential ‘park your brain at the door and just enjoy it for what it is’ kind of movie that gives you escapist entertainment for two hours. I’m glad the movie didn’t overstay its welcome though, anything past the 2-hour mark would’ve been way too much.
What did YOU think of The Lost City?