2022, Movies

The Lost City (2022, Aaron Nee, Adam Nee)

This is a pretty funny riff on Romancing the Stone style adventure films. Really, it’s a direct parody of Romancing the Stone and its sequel, in many ways.

The movie gets off to a pretty great start, playing off the conceit most of us are familiar with, but making the whole thing much more ridiculous. Tatum’s character is basically a younger, American Fabio rather than the Michael Douglas character. Instead, the Michael Douglas character in this film is far more capable – to a very silly degree – and is quite ably performed by Brad Pitt.

For the first two acts, I really enjoyed this. Bullock is fantastic in the role and this film is yet another reminder of how good she is at comedy. (I heard someone on a podcast make this point and I entirely agree.) Tatum is great, as you would expect given his ability with these types of characters. And Pitt, Radcliffe and Randolph are clearly having fun. (Though Randolph’s role requires her to be more serious than the others.) And there is also a very funny minor character played by a writer from Big Mouth, which is whacky.

However, as with so many romantic comedies, and so many adventure romps, things get just a little too serious and a different kind of ridiculous in the third act. The laughs dissipate and we’re expected to both care about our romantic leads getting together and believe their preposterous escapes from danger.

At one point there is one of my least favourite tropes in all of film: an extended underwater swim with lots of breath-holding. And, of course, it makes zero sense given the surroundings. There is also an abyss at one point, and nobody remarks on how impossible it would be for an abyss to be present at that moment, which would have been the correct way to deal with said abyss in a movie such as this.

I really enjoyed the movie for quite a while. I wish it had stayed as funny as it was throughout the climax. I would have accepted the silly escape stuff because the film had already established itself as ridiculous. Ah well.


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