L-r, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum star in Paramount Pictures' 'THE LOST CITY.'

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SXSW review: ‘The Lost City’ is a screwball comedy that leans into its silliness

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum have remarkable chemistry.


Tiffany Kelly

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 14, 2022   Updated on Mar 30, 2022, 12:35 pm CDT

As a modern screwball comedy, The Lost City checks a lot of boxes. There’s a woman more focused on her career than dating, and a man who is trying to get her attention. There’s a mythical place that the main characters are all trying to reach. There’s travel, adventure, and survival. If you put a couple of hot, famous actors in a familiar plot like this, it’s usually a winning formula. And for the most part, the film succeeds in what it sets out to do: Give audiences a light romantic comedy that runs on its incredible star-studded cast. 

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The Lost City
three and a half stars

Release Date: March 25, 2022
Directors: Aaron Nee, Adam Nee
Release: Theatrical
The Lost City is a charming modern screwball comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum.

The Lost City, which premiered at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival on March 12, centers around Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), a successful romance novelist who doesn’t like doing book tours and dismisses her work as “schlock”. The cover model who appears on her books, Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum), often gets more attention than her, especially from fans. She’s cold toward him, while he harbors feelings for her. The film takes a turn quickly when a billionaire named Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) kidnaps Sage in order to lead him to the titular lost city that she wrote about in her last novel. Da’Vine Joy Randolph is great as Sage’s publicist, who works to find her writer. Brad Pitt also has a small role in the film as well, but I won’t spoil the details of it here. In short: This film stars several super famous people, and it gives each of them an opportunity to show off their comedic chops. 

Of course, this is mainly Sandra Bullock’s movie. The Lost City feels like a Bullock rom-com from 20 years ago, and she has instant chemistry with Tatum. Watching the pair squabble over topics like feminism and surviving in a jungle is satisfying. It’s also refreshing to see a rom-com in which a woman is paired with a man more than a decade her junior, and it’s not presented as odd. Tatum dives completely into being a himbo for his role—a himbo who appreciates skincare products and packs snacks for Loretta. Tatum plays up his star appeal for the camera, and strips off his shirt (and other items) on more than one occasion. Radcliffe, meanwhile, is surprisingly believable as a villain, although his character is not very developed. However, this film proves that Radcliffe has range, and it makes me excited to see him play Weird Al in the upcoming biopic.

The Lost City may be predictable, and at times, formulaic. But there are moments of nuance, especially when it comes to its commentary on colonialism and how residents of a remote island would respond to a white billionaire tearing apart their home to look for a supposed treasure. Héctor Aníbal plays Rafi, a reluctant worker for Fairfax who takes the job out of a lack of opportunities on the island. The film shows his struggle, instead of just depicting him as a generic “bad guy” who would unquestionably support a billionaire. 

If you’re looking for a silly, charming film that brings Bullock back to her romcom genre, this is a film for you. The Lost City’s plot is silly but easy to navigate. And the real reason it works is because all of the actors are game. It’s dumb fun.

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*First Published: Mar 14, 2022, 3:06 pm CDT