The Lost City 2022 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
The Lost City scratches that particular Channing Tatum itch, the same one satisfied by his directorial debut Dog, where he once again claims the title of Himbo Supreme. His goofy charm, coupled with the radiant and reliable presence of Sandra Bullock — who, at the age of 57, continues to lead action and romance like nobody’s business — keeps the film afloat, even when its mere 112-minute runtime starts to feel endless, and fewer of its jokes begin to land.
It’s directed by brothers Aaron and Adam Nee, who also share writing credits with Dana Fox and Oren Uziel. Whether or not the production was a case of too many cooks, it often feels like it, between its dropped threads, its unfunny (though mercifully truncated) subplot detours, and its litany of jokes added via ADR and delivered from off-screen, only about half of which work in any given scene. However, when a movie is this self-assured of its stars and what they bring to the table, no amount of haphazard filmmaking can prevent it from being enjoyable.
Bullock plays burnt-out romance author Loretta Sage, who balks at the prospect of yet another book tour where her heartthrob cover model — Tatum’s Alan Caprison, in character as her golden-maned hero Dash McMahon — hogs the spotlight. Twenty volumes in, she abruptly decides that her latest steamy paperback, “The Lost City of D,” will be her last, and will thus be Alan’s swan song too, which leads to an exchange of unpleasant words between the reluctant duo. However, before the well-meaning Alan can apologize, he witnesses Loretta being taken hostage by Daniel Radcliffe’s skeevy businessman Abigail Fairfax, who hopes to use Loretta’s real-world skills as a former archeologist to translate and uncover the location of a hidden treasure, if only to prove to his family that he can. It turns out Fairfax may have discovered the lost city about which Loretta had been writing, pouring elements of her old career into works of fiction by which she now feels shackled.
Armed with AirPods, a neck pillow, and a rolling suitcase, Alan mounts a rescue mission with the help of his suave former trainer, the mysterious mercenary Jack (Brad Pitt), whose resemblance to the fictitious Dash ignites sparks between him and Loretta, and ignites Alan’s envy. However, before long, the mission goes off the rails, and Alan and Loretta are left to their own devices, caught between finding their way off a mysterious Atlantic island, and potentially uncovering its archeological secrets.
Bullock’s character is given more emotional heft than the trailers let on. For one thing, The Lost City introduces us to Loretta through pictures of her alongside her now-dead husband, whose absence has caused her to become closed off from the world. It’s a big emotional swing from a film filled wall-to-wall with jokes, but it affords Bullock the opportunity to bring a sense of gravitas to even her quippiest interactions and her bits of physical comedy, making for a delightful contrast with the seemingly airheaded Alan. Where Loretta’s woes are on full display, Alan is more of a closed book that she (and the audience) discover chapter by chapter, mostly through his genuine concern for her. For everything that doesn’t work in The Lost City — a lengthy list! — Loretta and Alan’s simmering-yet-slapstick romance makes up for nearly all of them.
Its emotional throughline doesn’t really play as intended. In order to break out of her rut, Loretta needs to stop living in the past, but the path laid out before her — of adventuring, rediscovering her old passions, and finally locating the ruins for which she and her husband had been searching — is distinctly at odds with this idea of moving forward. The film’s dramatic moments tend to grind things to a halt, acting as more of a pause button on the comedy than a complementary force, but thankfully, Tatum and Bullock’s banter is always just around the corner.
The supporting cast is, for the most part, delightful too, even when they don’t entirely work. Pitt is absurdly, almost satirically hyper-capable in an action-hero role tailor made for him. Radcliffe’s Napoleon complex as a scorned billionaire makes him a lively treat, as he whips between soft-spoken and megalomaniacal, and a couple of his key henchmen stick around throughout the story as well, adding their own color to the proceedings. One of them, Rafi (Héctor Aníbal), even has a connection to the island’s fictitious culture and gets his own conflicted arc in the process (though it doesn’t really pay this off). Elsewhere, the search for Loretta is augmented by her PR team, consisting of her hilariously misguided social media manager Allison (Patti Harrison), and her dedicated publisher Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), who unfortunately finds herself on the receiving end of the film’s least funny dialogue — mostly alongside The Office’s Oscar Nunez as an idiosyncratic pilot, who simultaneously has too much screen time and yet too little to do.
Each time the focus moves away from Tatum and Bullock — more specifically, from their rapid-fire comedic exchanges — it’s a drag, albeit a largely inoffensive one. However, every time the story returns to them and allows them to let loose, they each paint their characters’ worst moments (Alan’s well-intended idiocy and Loretta’s hardened terseness) with enough vulnerability that it becomes impossible not to enjoy their presence. Not only are they funny, but they’re funny in a deeply honest way, where each barb, each argument, and eventually, each action-packed moment of reconciliation, comes from a character-centric place.
The Lost City is bland and messy whenever Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum aren’t on screen. Thankfully, their comedic banter is front and center for most of the film, with Bullock, playing a kidnapped smut author, showing why she still excels at action and romance, and Tatum playing her well-meaning cover model, proving once again that he’s Hollywood’s greatest Himbo.