There are few things as uplifting as the embrace of laughter. And one of the loveliest ways to experience that embrace is in the dark surrounded by strangers*, with popcorn in your lap and the warmth of a cinema screen brightening your eyes and mood. It takes an unabashedly funny film to unite a room in laughter, happily The Lost City is just that.
(*No strangers were embraced during the making of this opinion)
Romance novelist Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a solitary soul. Once a globe trotter with a passion for breathing new life into ancient history, Loretta withdrew from the world following the death of her husband and has settled for living vicariously through the antics of her characters. Her hero Dash McMahon makes all her readers swoon but thanks to the dedication of a hunky cover model he has taken on a life of his own. If Loretta is ever to get a life, Dash must die.
Dash is everything to Alan (Channing Tatum). Before he donned the flowing locks and disposable shirts demanded of Loretta’s leading man he was a nobody, he won’t go back to anonymity without a fight. Not an actual punch-up – Alan is a lover, not a fighter – but he is fiercely loyal to the author and the franchise and carefully oblivious to her disdain. Soon it will be time for Alan to step up and prove his mettle, a mercurial billionaire has Loretta in his crosshairs and (to her great irritation) the next chapter could prove deadly.
Media dynasty brat Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) is basically Roman Roy with a childhood fixation on his Indiana Jones boxset. And now that he’s a grown-up, Fairfax wants ALL the treasure. Loretta’s meticulous research for her novel took her perilously close to the Crown of Fire – Fairfax’s quarry – and one translation, in particular, makes her an invaluable asset to him. When his ultimate cheese board fails to charm, he simply has his henchmen deliver Loretta to a remote Atlantic Island where he plans to stamp his foot extra hard until she complies.
But Fairfax’s cunning plan did not account for Alan!
Comparisons to Romancing the Stone are obviously inescapable here and superficially The Lost City shares plenty of common ground with the ‘80s classic. Yet it is so much more than that; part Nim’s Island, part The Lego Movie, a bit Dora and the Lost City of Gold and obviously a lot Indy; the real secret to The Lost City’s appeal is the winning charm of its cast.
Adam and Aaron Nee’s action caper might not bring anything revelatory to the table in terms of plot but it’s a deliciously fluffy comedy confection and the charisma is palpable. Brad Pitt and Da’Vine Joy Randolph steal every scene they’re in as a CIA operative tasked with recovering Loretta and her dedicated publicist, respectively, Bullock and Tatum have fabulous bickering chemistry and honestly everyone looks like they’re having a ball.
Alan lacks the Neeson nouse needed to mount a rescue but he has a huge heart and an indomitable spirit and he knows a man who can; his trainer, Jack Trainer, usefully in Alan’s phone under Trainer, because he is one. (We hope the Working Girl namecheck is an intentional nod to Harrison Ford.) Wily, knowledgable, certain-set-of-skilled and fit as f*ck, Jack (Brad Pitt) is every word of leading man Loretta ever wrote, made flesh. And Alan comes along for the ride, just in case. Despite gun-toting bad guys, an active volcano, hostile jungle conditions and a very rich manchild who doesn’t like to lose, nothing could possibly go wrong now…
Sandra Bullock always delivers as a leading lady but with the right co-star to bounce off she sparkles. The odd couple pairing with Tatum allows her to use every weapon in her comedic arsenal from slapstick to sarcasm and Tatum makes an excellent foil – playing against his looks well – he is heartbreaking and hilarious in his bafflement over how ridiculously he is outmatched by Trainer. Full of personality and plenty of twists and turns to keep the predictable action skipping along, The Lost City is daft and delightful in equal measure; the perfect Easter holiday indulgence.
The Lost City opens in cinemas across the UK on April 13th