[Screen It]


(2022) (Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum) (PG-13)

Read Our Full Content Movie Review for Parents

Action/Romantic Comedy: A romance novelist must contend with being kidnapped and the subsequent efforts of her novels' cover art male model to rescue her.

Loretta Sage (SANDRA BULLOCK) is a successful and popular romance novelist who's still reeling from the death of her archaeologist husband a few years back. Accordingly, and despite the best efforts of her long-time publicist, Beth (DA'VINE JOY RANDOLPH), and new social media manager, Allison (PATTI HARRISON), Loretta is less than thrilled to be doing a publicity tour of her latest book. That's especially true due to being paired with Alan (CHANNING TATUM), the male model who portrays her recurring protagonist, Dash, on the covers of her novels.

It's at the end of one of those appearances that goons working for billionaire Abigail Fairfax (DANIEL RADCLIFFE) kidnap her, with him believing she can decipher some old symbolic writing that will lead him to the long-lost "Crown Fire." Alan witnesses the kidnapping but can't stop it and thus enlists the aid of former Navy SEAL Jack Trainer (BRAD PITT) to find and rescue Loretta. With that taking them to a remote tropical island in the Atlantic, Alan does what he can to help Loretta who's less than thrilled about her new situation.

OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10

Considering how Hollywood is infatuated with -- oh, who am I kidding, it's head over heels in love with -- sequels, I've long wondered why someone hasn't rebooted "Romancing the Stone." That was the 1984 action/rom-com starring Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, and Danny DeVito that involved a romance novelist (Turner) who ends up in tropical jungle environs due to her sister being kidnapped. There, she runs into a ruggedly handsome and assured man (Douglas) who assists her as the villains try to get their hands on a valuable, old emerald.

I'm guessing various powers that be likely tried to remake the film, but for any number of reasons failed or simply gave up. Never fear, dear reader, for someone will always pick up the ball, and if not tell the same story again, certainly be inspired by it in telling their "original" tale. Such is the case with "The Lost City," a - natch -- action/rom-com featuring a romance novelist who ends up in the jungle as related to a kidnapping, the swarthy figure who knows his way around the jungle, and villains after something old and valuable.

Thankfully, the brotherly writing/directing duo of Aaron and Adam Nee along with co-scribes Oren Uziel and Dana Fox switch things up enough that this offering doesn't reek of being a slightly altered rip-off of that now - gulp - 38-year-old film.

In fact, it's a fairly entertaining diversion, not only due to the script and direction but also the performances of the leads -- Sandra Bullock playing the romance novelist and Channing Tatum as her hero who goes from assured and swarthy (if faked) hunk to insecure if committed (and physically ripped) dweeb back to leading man over the course of the film's nearly two-hour running time. Throw in Daniel Radcliffe playing against type and Brad Pitt having an extended (and funny) cameo bit once the story really kicks in, and the results are enjoyable enough.

Considering the pre-release interviews that Bullock has given where she states she's essentially burned out and this could be her last film for who knows how long, it's easy to read her real-life situation into how she plays the heroine who's tired of the dog and pony show associated with and required by her profession. That's especially true when she learns from her publicist (Da'Vine Joy Randolph) that she's to be paired with Tatum's book cover model, complete with his chiseled chest and long, flowing locks.

She thinks her day has gone from bad to worse when her attitude derails that publicity event, but that's soon forgotten when Radcliffe's billionaire's goons kidnap her. It seems she knows a thing or two about ancient languages -- her late husband was an archaeologist -- and Fairfax wants her to decipher a recently discovered swath of material.

He thinks will lead him to his long-coveted "Crown Fire," something Loretta and her late hubby were once also interested in finding. Meanwhile, having witnessed the kidnapping, Alan sets out to rescue her, but knowing absolutely nothing about doing so, he asks a former Navy SEAL he once met (Pitt) to do the heavy lifting.

He agrees, and soon they and the plot head to a remote, volcanic island in the Atlantic where the ex-military man gets the job mostly done and then exits stage right, so to speak, meaning the weight of finishing the job falls squarely on Alan's muscular shoulders. All of which means further eye-rolling for Loretta, the two being forced to spend time together to survive, and then a friendship and budding romance forming.

Yes, it's about as formulaic as they come and there are few surprises. Yet, it all goes down so easily and agreeably that you simply can't put up much resistance when it comes to finding some parts or the entire offering to your liking. I did, and despite constantly being reminded of "Romancing the Stone," I'm glad the powers that be opted to reconfigure that story idea into something other than the same old, usual reboot. "The Lost City" rates as a 6 out of 10.

Reviewed March 17, 2022 / Posted March 25, 2022

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