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The Lost City Is a Fun, Throwback Adventure-Romance

Yes, that’s a beefy Brad Pitt, complete with blond hair and golden goatee, as Jack Trainer, the commando opposite Channing Tatum’s bumbling male model in The Lost City. The duo are a key component of the chemistry that holds the film together.

Released in theaters March 25, the consensus finds that The Lost City is a worthy attempt on a genre that, like many of its peers, hasn’t been coming out of Hollywood for awhile. The action-comedy echoes films like Indiana Jones and 1984’s Romancing the Stone. As an adventure-romance, The Lost City fulfills its purpose of transporting the audience to a goofy, spirited escapade, like jungle romps before it. This one, however, comes dressed in a purple sequined jumpsuit.

Brad Pitt (left), Sandra Bullock, and Channing Tatum (right) in 'The Lost City.'
Paramount Pictures/YouTube.

Thirty-eight years after Romancing the Stone helped define adventure-romance for its era, Sandra Bullock, Pitt, and Tatum swing through a modern-day, spiritual revival. Bullock is a lonely romance novelist, trudging through an existence more mundane by the day until Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) crashes her publicity tour. The eccentric, narcissist billionaire wants Bullock’s character Loretta to find the location of The Lost City of D (ahem), which happens to be the title of her last book. How Loretta’s work of fiction translates to fact might need a few leaps of viewer faith, but, hey, the caper is an escape from reality.

As Loretta finds herself in a real-life version of one of her novels, the world’s sexiest cover model, Alan (Tatum) comes to her rescue. The bumbling bro is at least self-aware enough to know that he doesn’t even know where to begin, so he calls the baddest man he knows: His trainer — Jack Trainer that is. Pitt plays a game soldier-turned-yogic-mercenary, first diving into Bitcoin and the dark things that Bullock’s kidnappers could be into before pinging the kidnapped woman on a mysterious island via her smart watch.

From the moment we can hear Pitt’s ubiquitous lip-smacking over the phone to the inevitable explosions (and wheelbarrow rescue), there are callbacks aplenty to the actors’ previous films. The movie certainly does not rise to the same level as its predecessors, but those are classics from a golden time for the adventure flick.

You could argue that the last big adventure-romance-comedy was The Mummy, which grossed $416.4 million worldwide, and spawned two sequels. The Mummy took a healthy $80 million to make, and “big budget” is persona non grata in Hollywood right now with movie theaters bleeding money. More than two years into a pandemic, there are few big-budget blockbuster films being made outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Genres like the disaster spoof, the period drama, and adventure-romance all require significant investment. Paramount took a chance on The Lost City and succeeded, at least to the extent that success is measured in 2022.

After a budget of around $70 million, The Lost City has since grossed over $80 million worldwide. That’s a win nowadays, especially since the film has yet to hit streaming platforms.

If you’re looking for distraction on a random evening, settle in with a tub of popcorn and playful expectations.

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