The Lost City – generic title, generic plot. Hardly an original idea, nor a goldmine of comedic potential. A comedy adventure in the standard treasure hunt vein, boasting a star-laden cast and glorious exotic locations, but little substance. All these are true. And yet, The Lost City has something about it that just about lifts it out of the realms of standard Hollywood hokum.
Off the bat, there’s not much to say about The Lost City that you won’t have already ascertained from the trailer. Sandra Bullock is a historian-turned-romance novelist. Channing Tatum is a clueless cover model. Together, they’re swept up in an eccentric billionaire’s scheme to find a lost treasure on a remote island in the Atlantic. And that’s about it.
For the most part, The Lost City is a light and harmless comedy romp, although it’s also a rather safe affair that doesn’t do anything unexpected. The Romancing the Stone vibes are blatantly evident throughout, and whilst there are touches of originality peppered about, the film regularly falls back on tried and tested material that never does anything too inventive or daring. A few action set pieces dotted throughout liven things up, but they’re also rather forgettable when all is said and done. As for the humour, most of the main gags simply rely on the two leads chattering quickly and talking over one another – a comedy trope which begins to lose the desired effect roughly around the second time it’s used.
However, what the film lacks in originality or laugh out loud moments, it makes up for with heart. Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock make for a perfect onscreen pairing, their comedic and romantic chemistry apparent from the off. Together, the two stars light up the screen and imbue some rather so-so moments with that extra bit of sparkle otherwise lacking in the screenplay. Tatum’s loveable idiot schtick is anchored and kept in check by the character’s sweet nature, whilst Bullock’s character goes on an arc that drives the film and results in a lovely reveal that lifts things considerably in the film’s denouement. Should a sequel ever be in the offing, it could do worse than to reunite these two stars together.
Sadly, other cast-members aren’t as well served, which is shame considering the talent on display in the cast list. Daniel Radcliffe is clearly having a blast as the film’s principle villain, though sadly there’s very little opportunity for him to let loose and ramp up the comedy or threat in his rather thankless role. As for secondary players Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Patti Harrison and Oscar Nunez, they each elicit a few laughs in their respective roles, but are never afforded any considerable amount of screen time.
There’s not much new to be discovered in The Lost City. The performances are fine, the humour is silly, and the action is enjoyable, albeit a tad average. But moments of charm and genuine heart put the whole affair on the right path, simultaneously keeping proceedings ticking along and putting boredom at bay. It may not be golden, but for the most part, The Lost City is a light, fluffy affair that will pass an afternoon in the cinema quite easily. Just don’t go in expecting to find any hidden treasure!
The Lost City is released in UK Cinemas 15th April.