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