Review by Adam Donato
To quote Charlie Day in Horrible Bosses 2, “Fuck you, I love Sandra Bullock!” Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock plays Sandra Bullock in what appears to be an original popcorn flick. At least it’s not a franchise, sequel, reboot, adaptation of something else. Instead it’s a classic movie star romantic comedy adventure. Channing Tatum plays Channing Tatum who’s having quite the year with this and Dog. Does Brad Pitt add enough legitimacy to make this “original blockbuster” successful? There’s three movies that exemplify the quality of The Lost City.
Marry Me came out on Valentine’s Day earlier this year. It looked equally as cheesy and stupid as The Lost City. They don’t like each other, but they’re forced together and they just might find love along the way. Not to mention the age gap. While Owen Wilson and Jennifer Lopez are an awkward match despite almost being the same age, she was engaged to a man when she could very realistically be the same age as his mother. Similarly, when Bullock was getting her drivers license, Channing Tatum was born. The joke in the movie that Brad Pitt makes more sense for her as a romantic option really brings to light that Tatum and Bullock are an awkward match. They both play the same character they do in every movie. She’s a down-on-her-luck woman just trying to get by. He’s a goofy hunk who is trying his best. They’re independently enjoyable in the movie, but their romance is barely believable despite the movie’s efforts.
Last summer saw the release of Jungle Cruise. A determined woman has to venture through the jungle to solve an ancient mystery, but she has to put up with mister funny muscles until they fall in love. For an original blockbuster, it kinda feels like a movie that already feels like a bunch of movies. Jungle Cruise is just the most recent comparison. This whole movie is cliche. The only character that feels fresh is played by Brad Pitt. Everything with his storyline is done perfectly. Daniel Radcliffe does a solid impression of Jesse Eisenberg in Batman v Superman. There’s enough personality here that the run-of-the-mill plot is tolerable. The edge that The Lost City has over Jungle Cruise is that it’s less cynical. Although it’s generic, it’s not trying to ride off the coattails of franchise recognition.
Sometimes in movies, the characters watch a blockbuster movie, not unlike the beginning of Tropic Thunder. Recent Netflix “blockbuster” Red Notice embodies this feeling perfectly. It feels like a parody movie. The stars just play themselves, the jokes are cringe (“Ummmmm, I have a rule against dark and scary caves.”), and the plot couldn’t be less interesting. All of this applies to The Lost City. Most of the time with movies like this, it comes down to how much chemistry the two main stars have. It’s already established they look off. That would be less of a problem if the treasure hunt adventure was interesting in the slightest. Still, it’s a fake movie that was designed in a lab. This is nobody’s passion project. It’s a basic movie that solely gets by with a collection of likable stars.
Movies like The Lost City are designed to be as vanilla and inoffensive as possible. What helps it feel fresh is that it’s a love letter to schlock. It’s hard to dislike something that moderately accomplishes the low goals it sets out for itself. The casual movie fan will think this movie is a riot and they’re not wrong. It's a perfect date movie. The Brad Pitt parts make it worth a single watch.
The Lost City hits theaters on March 25.