Reviews by Joyce Glasser The Lost City (April 15, 2022) Cert 15, 112 mins
The Lost City is the kind of guilty-pleasure action-adventure romcom that’s becoming a rare, if not endangered, species. By focusing on the character, keeping plot and violence to a minimum, and refusing to take itself seriously, it’s an entertaining romp and a great date movie – for all ages.
To prepare, imagine that Agatha Christie, who accompanied her scholarly husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, on several digs, decided to switch from detective fiction to romance. Instead of a lumbering, empowered, neurotic detective named Hercule Poirot, imagine that a muscular young hunk with wild blond caveman hair named “Dash” appeared on the cover of your best-selling books.
Or maybe it’s easier to imagine a looser adaptation of the 1984 action-adventure romcom Romancing the Stone, because it is, and there’s no harm in that. In The Lost City Sandra Bullock plays Kathleen Turner in the 1984 film. She plays the successful but lonely writer Loretta Sage, who gets embroiled in one of her adventure threads and proves to be quite adept away from her computer.
Both films feature a single and successful but lonely author, a kidnapping, a troubled publisher/publicist and friend, a map that leads to antiquities, reticent villains chasing the heroine in the jungle, and a romantic interest that turns followed by the fish-out-of-water heroine.
Romanticize the stone was the sole produced screenplay by Malibu waitress Diane Thomas, 39, who died a year after the film’s release in a car accident in Topanga Canyon that was critically and box office acclaimed. Her heroine dreamed of meeting a man as exciting as the heroes in her novels, who has what it takes to save damsels in distress. In the jungle, she finds the rugged, cocky, confident bird hunter (Michael Douglas) who is just right for her, even if a bird hunter would be a villain today.
Directors Adam and Aaron Nee (The last romantic), who co-wrote the screenplay with Oren Uziel and Dana Fox, based on a story by Seth Gordon, gave the film a more feminist twist, with the running gag that in this jungle we’re never sure who’s saving who.
Though Lorretta’s publicist Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) has organized an expensive launch for her new book The Lost City of D, Loretta looks like she’d rather be somewhere else in a pink sequined onesie and heels. Attempting to perch on a stool without tearing the skin-tight outfit, Loretta faces her audience and breaks the news that the “D” in the title doesn’t stand for Dash, the story’s dashing hero and cover model’s nickname.
The scientific justification for the “D” bores and disappoints its audience. It dumps cover model Alan Caprison, aka Dash McMahon (Channing Tatum), who, like Loretta’s readers, is looking for a real-life romance. Dash is this muscular hunk with a mane of caveman blond hair who tumbles onto the podium trying to capture his
Alan/Dash plays his role as Knight Bus so perfectly that he started to believe in it. The truth that he’s an accident-prone city boy with allergies, a fear of water, insecurity issues, and the vulnerability that attracts women more than macho antics is revealed when Lorretta is kidnapped by Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe).
And yes, Radcliffe’s first job is to explain the name that would have been best left on the cutting room floor. Fairfax is a typical villain: a possessed billionaire criminal who is convinced that Loretta’s knowledge of ancient writings will lead him to a lost treasure mentioned in one of her books – near a site he is already excavating.
That Alan is infatuated with Loretta off the podium is evident from his reaction to her kidnapping. When Beth can’t convince law enforcement of the urgency or a kidnapping, Alan calls on Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to train him for the job, and yes, there’s a joke about Trainer the Trainer. The two big moments of the film are when both Alan and later Loretta meet Jack, who comes straight out of central casting. Their reactions and Pitt’s serious face could be bottled and sold. Pitt’s cameo role is a tour de force, but it’s also a minor hiccup as Channing has big shoes to fill.
Fortunately, the chemistry between Channing (Fox Catcher, Magic Mike, Jump Street) and Bullock (Gravity, the blind side, the suggestion) and their respective comedy skills are enough to make up for Pitt’s brevity, weak plot, and sloppy roles of Beth and Radcliffe (which could also just be a miscast). Both Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Radcliffe struggle to infuse humor into cliche characters who lack original details or great lyrics.
Fairfax is never a real threat, but his henchmen chase Alan and Lorretta through the jungle with enough menace for our chalk-and-cheese couple to realize they need each other. In one erotically charged comic scene, she tugs lye from Alan’s butt and her reaction changes the game when, without thinking, she asks him to turn around to see if there’s any on his front. Alan retaliates with his clever idea of cutting off pieces of Lorretta’s showy dress to use as bait.
What’s interesting about that The Lost City is that Bullock, whose amazing body is as important to the film as Tatum’s, is a 57-year-old widow and age is never the issue in this romance with a 40-year-old man. When Michael Douglas was there Romanticize the stonehe was 40 and Kathleen Turner was 30. Bullock might not have been cast in the role today, but Bullock, the film’s executive producer, is pushing some boundaries in the right direction.
Pushing boundaries, Sandra Bullock faces off against Channing Tatum in this flimsy but hilarious romp.
Source link Pushing boundaries, Sandra Bullock faces off against Channing Tatum in this flimsy but hilarious romp.