Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum try to revive the rom-com-adventure genre with The Lost City—but the movie is flat, light on laughs, and bad-looking.

If you are going to make a movie about a romance novelist (Sandra Bullock) who winds up going on a romantic adventure similar to those in her novels, go ahead and remake Romancing the Stone, which came out, good god, 38 years ago. What? Did I see that in a theater? I need to take a moment … I’m having a major bout of “feeling old as all shit.” I’m going to take a brief walk and calm down.

OK, I’m back.

The Lost City is obviously an attempt at making a new Stone, but given how lame the finished product is, they would’ve been better off just remaking the original, or pulling a Ghostbusters: Afterlife retrofit reboot by making Sandra Bullock the daughter of Kathleen Turner’s author from the original—because The Lost City has the same plot. But, no. Producers must think nobody in The Lost City target audience has even heard of Romancing the Stone, so they just re-made the movie, with a different name and characters. No need to acknowledge Stone.

Romancing the Stone was enjoyable, but hackneyed, and that franchise played out after the less-successful sequel, The Jewel of the Nile. Films like Six Days, Seven Nights, starring Harrison Ford and Anne Heche, tried for a similar vibe in the late ’90s, but did little to keep the genre alive. Wait … when did Six Days, Seven Nights come out? Nearly a quarter-century ago? OK, hang on; I have to take another walk and regroup. Let me wrangle the dog.

OK, back again.

Perhaps the rom-com-adventure film was due for a fresh take, but The Lost City is anything but fresh: In every beat, it’s a movie you have seen before.

Bullock’s author, Loretta, is kidnapped by a whiny rich guy (Daniel Radcliffe) who discovers a legit clue to a secret tomb he’s been seeking while reading her books. Tatum plays the Fabio-like cover model who flies into action to rescue her. (Fabio jokes were old 30 years ago.) He enlists the help of a hero-type guy (Brad Pitt, apparently doing somebody a favor by appearing in this), and they form a rescue plan. The rescue attempt is hapless, and wannabe hilarity ensues.

We get a scene in which leeches get into Tatum’s pants. (Hello, Stand By Me! Let’s rip you off, too.) We get Bullock and Tatum running around many locations—cheaply created by CGI. Pitt provides the film’s only real laughs, making about 10 minutes of this film enjoyable.

While the movie is milquetoast, Bullock and Tatum do make an appealing screen couple. They both have searching, simple qualities to their line deliveries that they’ve mastered; there are good moments between them that will make you wish they were in a better movie. It’s also refreshing to see a Hollywood pairing with an older woman and a younger man. (Bullock is 16 years older than Tatum.) Their chemistry is the only refreshing element of this by-the-numbers slog through cheap sets and green screens.

No, I do not want to see a sequel to The Lost City—but I would not mind seeing these two stars in another movie worthy of their better-than-average comic talents. They can make decent movies together—movies that hopefully do not involve Bullock picking leeches off of Tatum’s ass.

The Lost City is playing at theaters across the valley.

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One reply on “Rip-Off Rather Than a Remake: ‘The Lost City’ Is a Slog, Even Though Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum Are Great”

  1. I haven’t see it yet, but hey, it’s Sandra Bullock and I’ve seen others by her. I’m rather surprised about Tatum, as I’ve seen other of his movies and they were good.

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