Photo By: Noah Nickel via IMDB

The Lost City is a new adventure comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. Bullock plays a romance author who uses real historical and archeological research in her writing, and Tatum plays the cover model for her books. It’s a very formulaic movie that pokes fun at Indiana Jones style adventure films and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

It features Bullock’s typical comedic characterization of being a slightly nerdy homebody. One would expect Tatum to play the rugged hero type, but he’s even more out of his element on the adventure than she is, they both have to face the fact that he is not the character he poses as on book covers. Bullock’s characterization isn’t as lively and funny as some of her other roles, and some of the jokes she delivers fall flat.  

The antagonist of the film is played by Daniel Radcliffe, who is delightfully evil, even though the character’s objectives are unclear and not well written. His scenes with Bullock are some of her best scenes in the film, they have a fun back-and-forth banter. Patti Harison is very funny, sort of making fun of how publicity staff try to appeal to young audiences by using social media in weird ways. 

You can put jokes before plot, but only if the jokes are good. There are multiple moments where the logic of the story is sacrificed to set up jokes that aren’t even that funny, and it makes the movie hard to stay invested in. There are also a lot of bits that are funny at first but go on for too long. The writing is simple, and this is effective during some moments but flat and poorly thought-out in others.

The romantic plot is pretty much the only part that really holds up and it’s also not great. It’s the kind of movie that could have been taken to another level if the soundtrack had featured songs that elevated scenes, but the music is all pretty forgettable and leaves viewers wanting more creative choices. The characters are one-dimensional with a few quirks and details added to make them more relatable; having the protagonists’ most memorable traits be having eczema and liking cheese is not good writing. 

The film is similar to Red Notice, with the comedic take on the action-adventure genre, and though there are a lot of elements of The Lost City that miss the mark it’s still leagues better than Red Notice. Like Red Notice there are moments where the green screen is painfully obvious and the shots look really bad which is disappointing for a movie that got a major in-theatres release and has a cast of very popular actors. 

Overall it’s a goofy movie with some good moments and some let downs, and there are moderately subversive moments that poke fun at the action-adventure genre. It also touches on the idea that some art is good just because it makes people happy, a good argument for the value of this kind of light, comedic film.