The Lost City (2022) – Movie Review

For such a predictable movie, The Lost City
has one of the most unexpected and shocking
moments of any film so far this year.
Hey everybody, welcome to Mainely Movies.
Today I’m gonna be talking about the 2022
adventure romantic comedy: The Lost City.
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The Lost City stars Sandra Bullock, Channing
Tatum, and Daniel Radcliffe and was directed
by Aaron and Adam Nee.
It tells the story of romance novelist Loretta
Sage, played by Sandra Bullock, who finds
herself trapped in a jungle with her cover
model when a crazed billionaire thinks that
she’s the key to finding lost treasure.
Watching The Lost City was an interesting
experience because even though the movie has
nothing to do with time travel, I felt like
I had been transported twenty years in the
This movie feels like a 2000s movie; like
somebody found a script buried at the bottom
of the drawer somewhere, dusted it off,

in a few cell phones and a Fitbit, and sent
it into production.
It’s got everything that you remember from
those 2000s films: an over-the-top romcom
adventure, ridiculous scenarios, a broad array
of humor and gags, two charismatic leads with
surprisingly good chemistry, and of course,
Sandra Bullock in a starring role.
Now, I certainly watched and enjoyed my fair
share of these types of romcoms back in the
day, so it was really wild to be back in the
theater for one.
This feeling of a 2000s film is both a good
and a bad thing.
On one hand, the familiarity of it all is
oddly comforting.
Like I said, it felt like I was sitting in
the theater in the early 2000s watching this.
But as I said, I liked these movies back then,
so somebody who hated 2000s romcoms will probably
not be getting that same comforting feeling
from this.
But even fans of the genre will likely feel
like The Lost City is a little too familiar.
You’ve seen this movie many times before.
There are some new jokes and scenarios but
pretty much everything else follows the beats
that you expect.
And so, your enjoyment will likely hinge on
whether or not that’s a problem for you.
Even though its familiar, the premise of The
Lost City is very fun.
The initial set-up and the beginning of the
adventure are fairly entertaining.
We follow Loretta, a romance novelist who
hates writing romance novels, and her somewhat
dimwitted cover model, Alan.
The circumstances that put them in the jungle
is ridiculous but in a just-go-with-it romcom
kind of way, so it works.
And so, they end up on an adventure that’s
kind of meta within the context of the film.
They’re essentially living out one of the
Loretta’s novels.
However, she and Alan are very different from
the heroes of her books, yet in order to survive,
they basically have to assume those roles
in this within-film real life scenario.
And that leads to some very fun situational
Sandra Bullock is great here as Loretta.
This character, at least in terms of personality,
is a bit reminiscent of several characters
she’s played in the past but it’s that
kind of snarky, sarcastic character she does
so well, so it really works here.
And for me, she was probably the funniest
character in the film.
Channing Tatum also gave a pretty good performance
here too as Alan.
His character is clearly written to be the
main source of comedy and I do think they
write him a little annoyingly too dumb at
times, but he does have some very funny moments
and a bit more charm and emotional depth than
you might initially expect.
One of the hallmarks of a good romcom, 2000s
or otherwise, is chemistry between the leads.
And I was pleasantly surprised to find that
Bullock and Tatum have really good chemistry.
I don’t know why exactly, but I just didn’t
think that they would be a good romantic or
comedic pairing, but they are and it really
helps this film.
Loretta and Alan are the two main characters
that we follow throughout the story, but there
are a number of secondary and tertiary characters
thrown into the mix too, almost all of which
suffer from the same over-the-top writing
that Alan does.
Daniel Radcliffe plays the villain of the
story and he goes big with it.
The character was obviously written as this
kind of creepy, mustache-twirling villain
but Radcliffe plays him unhinged and maybe
a little too cartoonishly big for the story.
Even other more minor side characters are
written and performed equally as big and comedically
I think some people find it funny but it was
a little frustrating for me.
I do think though that it was perhaps intentional,
as a sort of playful jab at the tropes and
characters in a typical romance novel.
Even so, I wasn’t very impressed with the
non-lead characters here with one exception:
Brad Pitt as Jack Trainer.
I thought that all of the best parts of this
film are the ones that involve him.
Intentional or not, I think the writing of
this film was one of its biggest issues.
Not only were many of the characters too over-the-top,
often with really rough, unnatural dialogue
but the structure and pacing also left much
to be desired.
I mentioned before that the initial set up
and even the beginning of the adventure part
of the story were pretty good.
Familiar, but interesting and entertaining.
Unfortunately, things become a lot less interesting
once our characters have spent a bit of time
in the jungle.
Things get a little repetitive and the film
starts to drag, which is not helped by the
frequent cutaways to a B-storyline involving
one of our secondary characters.
It’s tangentially related storywise but
it breaks up the chemistry and flow of the
A-storyline, seemingly only to throw some
more jokes into the movie.
Speaking of the jokes, the humor here is very
Admittedly, that’s pretty much always the
case with romcoms.
I found that almost all of the funny moments
of the film came from situational humor or
very quick visual gags – like somebody running
up a tree or feet sticking out of a car door.
But they spend a lot of time on some extended
dialogue-heavy gags that just don’t work.
The humor in these moments feels so forced.
It’s not terrible but you get the distinct
sense that the writers tried too hard to make
certain moments funny and ended up having
the opposite effect, when in reality, a more
subtle moment of humor would’ve gotten the
But hey, going for the 2000s romcom feel,
so why change up the approach now?
Alright, let’s talk about the pros and cons.
Pro number one is the chemistry between our
lead characters.
Chemistry is really important in a romcom,
so I guess it’s a good thing that this makes
the pro column.
I remember when I first saw that this film
would be starring Sandra Bullock and Channing
Tatum, I was a little skeptical about the
I love Sandra Bullock and she certainly has
a proven track record romcoms, so I knew she
would be good, but I wasn’t so sure about
He can be very funny, I just didn’t think
he’d be able to provide both a good comedic
and romantic pairing with Bullock.
But he does, and they’re believable and
funny together which was a pleasant surprise.
The second pro is Brad Pitt.
He plays a secondary character named Jack
Trainer and is incredibly entertaining.
He’s funny on his own but his interactions
with both Sandra Bullock’s character, Loretta,
and Channing Tatum’s character, Alan, are
even funnier.
The trailers portrayed him as a fairly major
character and I will say that he doesn’t
have quite as significant of a role as implied
by the marketing, but he’s one of my absolute
favorite parts of the movie and was involved
with basically all of the funniest moments
of the film.
On the con side, the biggest issue was how
over-the-top this movie was, especially with
regard to the characters.
Now, obviously this is a studio comedy that
at almost no point takes itself seriously.
So, big over-the-top ridiculous moments and
comedy aren’t unexpected or at odds with
other parts of the film.
They’re just too much – they go too far
and try too hard and end up being annoying
rather than the intended funny.
This over-the-top quality is given to the
character of Alan, at times really playing
up his stupidity in a way that kind of felt
unnecessary, but it’s most apparent with
the secondary characters.
Loretta’s publicist Beth, as well as a character
named Oscar both exhibit this over-the-topness,
but none do this more so than the villain,
Abigail Fairfax.
I think this is done as a bit of a nod to
the romance novels at the center of the story,
but it comes across a little too cartoonish.
The second con is something that I guess could
incorporate the first con but goes beyond
just that: the script.
Over-the top-characters and unnaturally cheesy
dialogue may have been intentional but the
structure and pacing issues probably weren’t.
The Lost City is a very familiar story which
lends itself to a certain amount of predictability
(which could probably be a con all its own
for some people) but it had the makings of
something fun.
I’m not suggesting that it should’ve been
a parody of the romcom adventure genre, but
it could’ve made a few small alterations to
feel like a fresh take, despite the familiarity.
But aside from one single shocking moment
(if you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly
what one I’m talking about) the script is
basically identical to any number of okay
but generic romcoms.
Before I give you my rating and recommendations,
I want to remind you that if you’re interested
in buying The Lost City or any of the films
I mentioned today, I do have affiliate links
for all of them in the description below.
I get a small commission from anything you
buy using one of my links, so I’d really appreciate
if you’d use them if you’re in the market
for any of these movies.
I’m gonna give The Lost City 3 out of 5
Though lacking in laughs and spilling over
with predictability, it’s still fun in a
pass-the-time kind of way.
It’s not a movie that’ll stick in anybody’s
mind for very long and won’t be one that
you pull down from the shelf all that often,
but this is exactly the type of comedy that
you won’t mind having on in the background
when you know it’s playing on tv.
I would recommend The Lost City to people
who like 2000s romcoms.
Although this film has a handful of slightly
more modern sensibilities, it still very much
feels like a return to a film style that hasn’t
been huge in a few decades.
If you’ve seen many of those earlier romcoms,
this is going to seem extremely familiar,
which could be a good thing or a bad thing
depending on how you feel about those 2000s
rom coms.
Fans of Sandra Bullock or Channing Tatum will
also get some entertainment out of this and
I think readers of romance novels will like
it and appreciate some of the nods, as well
as the defense of said novels.
If you liked The Lost City, I’ve got to
recommend Romancing the Stone.
The story goes in slightly different directions
but it’s another film focusing on an adventure
romance novelist who finds herself searching
for treasure in a jungle.
If you enjoyed Sandra Bullock’s performance,
you should check out The Proposal.
This was a late 2000s romcom in which she
plays a somewhat similar type of character
who finds herself in a remote location with
a coworker and comes to have a better understanding
of him over the course of the film.
And if you want another adventure romcom that
was actually from the 2000s, you might want
to watch Fools Gold.
It features Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson
as divorced treasure hunters who bicker their
way through adventure and exotic locations.
Alright, a couple questions for you guys.
Number one: Have you seen The Lost City?
If so, what’d you think of it?
And number two: What’s your favorite movie
about a novelist?
Be sure to leave your answers in the comments
below so we can get a discussion going.
Alright, so if you got some enjoyment, insight,
or information out of this review, I’d appreciate
it if you’d hit that like button.
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Till next time, this has been Alyssa with
Mainely Movies: The way life should be.

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