Review: The Lost City

Whether one loves or hates Brad Pitt, it’s impossible to deny that the simple fact that he has been cast in a movie means something for that movie, even if, as in this spotty comedy-adventure film, he’s a supporting actor who leaves the proceedings relatively early. Frankly, I missed him once he was gone, since his Navy SEAL-cum-meditation advisor adds just the right touch of Pythonesque absurdity to a script that wears its ridiculousness like a badge of honor but can’t quite generate the yucks that would justify that belief in itself. Pitt obviously took the role as a lark and has a great time with it, but half the fun is in the knowledge that he has no skin in the game.

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum are the stars who have to do the heavy lifting, and while both are experienced and skilled comedians, they require sturdier material than this to succeed. Bullock plays romance novelist Loretta Sage, who has receded from the public eye after the death of her husband and is suffering from writer’s block. Tatum is the hunky but dim model Alan, who often graces the jacket covers of her books and accompanies her on her tours to provide the kind of excitement that Loretta can’t in person. Consequently, Alan is more of a star than the author is, especially among Loretta’s overwhelmingly middle aged female fans, a facet of their working relationship that has always rubbed her the wrong way. Pitt’s character, Jack, is attached to Alan and after Loretta is kidnapped and brought to a tropical island, it’s Jack who provides the tongue-in-cheek earnest action moves. 

Essentially, the rest of the movie is Tatum trying to live up to this example after Loretta escapes the clutches of the billionaire Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe, also having a really good time with a character whose eccentricities become quickly tiresome), who needs Loretta to help him find a lost city on the island that contains a treasure. As they try to find a way to escape the island, Loretta and Alan bond in ways that are both predictable and pedestrian, something that the directors, Aaron and Adam Nee, seem to realize since they populate the margins of the film with goofy characters who have no real direct bearing on the central characters, such as the pilot (Oscar Nunez) with a goat sidekick. There is fun to be had here if you are in the right mood, but once Pitt exited I kept wishing he would return somehow.

Now playing in Tokyo at Toho Cinemas Nihonbashi (050-6868-5060), Toho Cinemas Hibiya (050-6868-5068), Shinjuku Piccadilly (050-6861-3011), Toho Cinemas Shinjuku (050-6868-5063), Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills (050-6868-5024).

The Lost City home page in Japanese

photo (c) 2022 Paramount Pictures

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