Directors Aaron and Adam Nee’s newest film The Lost City (2022) will feel familiar to film fans who saw Robert Zemeckis’ Romancing the Stone (1984) – but that isn’t a bad thing. The humor is updated for today’s audience, minus an obvious Fabio joke that might be a bit dated for a younger audience. The directors get plenty out of their stars in the film, and – as goes for many comedies – if you like the cast, you’ll probably have a fun time traversing the jungle in search of treasure.
Loretta (Sandra Bullock) has been delaying the completion of her most recent romance novel, but finally has to complete it and is off to tour. Things go off the rails when she and the books cover model, Alan (Channing Tatum), is wrapped up in an attempted kidnapping by Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe). They find themselves on a remote island, and in for a real adventure that Loretta only thought she was borrowing from in her newest novel.
Channing Tatum long ago proved he has a strong sense of humility and doesn’t mind being the butt of a joke. Alan really embraces the role of Dash, who he otherwise only simply plays on the cover of the books and in the minds of its many readers. There is a dimwitted element to the character that Tatum plays well while still being charming. He leaps at the opportunity to help Loretta when she goes missing and looks to redeem himself.
Bullock has played this strong, intelligent female many times before, and it’s a role that she steps back into with no problem. There is a melancholy about her character, as the death of her husband has kept her from living her life, and she seems to both want to move on and stay stagnant. This adventure starts off as a job offer and only turns to a kidnapping when she quickly refuses to help Abigail.
There is little subtlety to the dialogue, and the themes of the film are basically stated outright by the characters a couple of times. It’s possible this is by design, mocking the writing of the cheesy romance novels that Loretta has grown tired of as being her only contribution to the world. More likely, however, is that it’s just lazy writing, and inserted to make sure that everyone gets the messages.
Still, The Lost City was a solid studio comedy for those who like romantic comedies and familiar stories. There is enough new in The Lost City that even the biggest fans of Romancing the Stone will accept that it’s not a complete rehash – but there are definitely some familiar beats that make it undeniable. The Lost City earns the Decent Watch rating.