A clear offspring of the Romancing the Stone variety, there’s a lot of fun in to be had in this Paramount film from directors Adam Nee and Aaron Nee. The Lost City mostly succeeds thanks to the winning chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. Bullock is Loretta Sage, a self-loathing romance author who is tired of her uninspired books and even more tired of doing press with her hunky and clueless cover model (Channing Tatum).

Bullock’s character has a real knowledge of history and language, and she’s pulled into a treasure-hunting escapade and chased by scary men with guns thanks to a crazed rich kid (Daniel Radcliffe) looking for a titular lost city of yore to bolster his own reputation in his family that feels very much like the Roys from Succession.

Tatum is the one to witness the kidnapping and decides to enlist a rogue mercenary (Brad Pitt), who steals the show and leads Tatum to the far away jungle terrain where Bullocks’ Loretta Sage is being held. Pitt’s part amounts to an extended cameo, and every second is brilliant fun.

The movie stays on a consistently light wavelength even when death and sudden violence occurs. That jokey mentality assures the audience that the movie will not take things too seriously, and that relaxed-yet-antic attitude translates into fairly amusing banter with our leads.

The movie does a good job of spacing out its comic set pieces and keeping things moving for its hour and a half runtime. Despite the seemingly endless praise, there are storylines in the film that feel underplayed or forgotten until they’re called upon for moments that don’t feel earned.

Radcliffe tries his best, but the writing and his performance as the petulant baddie holds back the film, and you’re left wondering what a Kieran Culkin, Pedro Pascal, or even newcomer Antony Starr would’ve been able to achieve in the role.

The Lost City is a movie that delivers exactly the kind of experience it advertises, and fans of its two movie stars will not be disappointed by the 90 minutes spent in the cinema. If Paramount is paying close attention, the Pitt-character spinoff is already in the works.

Letter Grade: B

About The Author

Founder, Awards Editor

Byron Burton is the Awards Editor and Chief Critic at Awards Focus and a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award winning journalist for his work at The Hollywood Reporter.

Byron is a voting member of the Television Academy, Critics Choice Association, and the Society of Composers & Lyricists (the SCL) for his work on Marvel's X-Men Apocalypse (2016). Working as a journalist and moderator, Byron hosts Emmy and Oscar panels for the major studios, featuring their Below The Line and Above The Line nominees (in partnership with their respective guilds).

Moderating highlights include Ingle Dodd's "Behind the Slate" Screening Series and their "Spotlight Live" event at the American Legion in Hollywood. Byron covered the six person panel for Universal's "NOPE" as well as panels for Hulu's "Pam & Tommy Lee" and "Welcome to Chippendales" and HBO Max's "Barry" and "Euphoria."

For songwriters and composers, Byron is a frequent moderator for panels with the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) as well as The ArcLight's Hitting the High Note Oscar series.

Byron's panels range from FX's Fargo to Netflix's The Crown, The Queen's Gambit, The Witcher & Bridgerton; HBO Max's The Flight Attendant, Hacks, Succession, Insecure, & Lovecraft Country; Amazon Studios' The Legend of Vox Machina, Wild Cat, & Annette; and Apple TV+s Ted Lasso, Bad Sisters, and 5 Days at Memorial.

In February of 2020, Byron organized and hosted the Aiding Australia Initiative; launched to assist in the restoration and rehabilitation of Australia's wildlife (an estimated 3 billion animals killed or maimed and a landmass the size of Syria decimated).

Participating talent for Aiding Australia includes Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Jeremy Renner, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Josh Brolin, Bryan Cranston, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, JK Simmons, Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Tim Allen, Colin Hay, Drew Struzan, and Michael Rosenbaum.

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