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Silly but entertaining


WORLD Radio - Silly but entertaining

New rom-com The Lost City leans into its ridiculous premise

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Sandra Bullock, left, and Channing Tatum in a scene from "The Lost City." Kimberley French/Paramount Pictures via Associated Press

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, March 25th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: The Lost City.

Sandra Bullock’s new film arrives in theaters today. But is it an action adventure or a rom-com? According to reviewer Collin Garbarino, it might be both.

Bad Guy: You led me straight to the lost city. Now, prepare to die.

Loretta: There are just hundreds of snakes in this temple, waiting for us to show up?

Dash: Why aren’t they biting that guy?

Loretta: This is ridiculous. Delete. Delete. Delete. [groans]

COLLIN GARBARINO, REVIEWER: In The Lost City, Sandra Bullock stars as Loretta Sage—a writer who started out as a serious academic but ends up writing pulp romance novels because no one would publish her scholarly works. But she doesn’t give up on her first love. She bases her spicy “Dash and Lovemore” series on the work she did with her archeologist husband. Her books are a little history, a little archeology, and a lot of romance. But after her husband dies, Loretta becomes reclusive and struggles to bring her series to a satisfying conclusion.

Beth: Listen, Loretta. We need you to promote your new book on the lost city. You can’t spend your life in the bathtub, drinking chardonnay with ice.

Loretta’s agent, Beth, strongarms her into a book tour to promote her flailing franchise. Also, on the book tour? Alan, the popular Fabio-like model who appears on her book covers. Channing Tatum plays Alan, who sometimes seems to confuse his own life with Dash, the character from the book.

Loretta: You do know you’re not Dash, right? Dash is a character I made up.

It turns out Loretta’s novels contain a little too much archeological reality. And a nefarious collector played by Daniel Radcliffe kidnaps her to help him find the lost treasure she writes about in her fiction.

Fairfax: Miss Sage, I enjoyed your book about the lost city, and I believe you’re the one that can help me find its treasure.

Loretta: I have to respectfully decline.

Fairfax: I’m afraid I must insist.

Beth hires a soldier of fortune played by Brad Pitt to rescue Loretta, but Alan insists on coming along. He secretly loves Loretta, and he hopes to prove to her he’s more than a pretty face and chiseled torso.

Beth: Loretta Sage is missing.

Alan: I’m going to rescue her. I just want her to think of me as more than a cover model.

All of this is, of course, quite silly. And older listeners might think: Hey, this plot sounds familiar! The Lost City draws much of its inspiration from the 1984 movie Romancing the Stone. Both films have novelists who get dragged into jungles and need to be rescued by scruffy jungle adventurers. But The Lost City injects enough originality and rom-com verve to make this implausible film a treat for audiences weary of Hollywood’s sequel-reboot cycle.

Alan: This is like your book. We’re on a Lovemore and Dash adventure right now.

Bullock and Tatum have chemistry and impeccable comic timing for a romantic adventure that leans into the absurdity of its premise. Both actors demonstrate what brilliant physical comedians they are. Bullock spends almost the entire film in a purple sequined jumpsuit. It’s quite possibly the least appropriate jungle attire imaginable. The jumpsuit almost becomes a character in its own right, and watching Bullock run through the jungle in it is hilarious. Fans of Bullock’s rom coms will enjoy seeing her back in the genre. She proves she’s still the queen of the smart-beautiful-yet-somewhat-awkward-love-interest role.

Tatum plays Alan with just the right mix of earnestness and stupidity.

Alan: I’m certified CPR. I’m certified CrossFit. I have snacks.

He might be muscle bound, and he might wish to prove himself. But Alan’s just as lost in the jungle as Lorretta in her sequined jumpsuit. In an interview, Bullock says putting this odd couple in such an odd predicament is what gives the film its comic punch.

Sandra Bullock: You have someone who shouldn’t be in nature in nature. You have a cover model who is trying to be the hero to get the shut-in author out of the jungle. Neither one of them should be in any atmosphere other than a hermetically sealed building with air conditioning.

The Lost City is rated PG-13 for violence, language, and partial nudity. The plot deals with pulp romance novels, so you should expect some innuendo in the dialogue. But this rom com hearkens back to earlier films in the genre, and despite the innuendo the romance stays refreshingly chaste. The raciest scene—played for laughs—features a male backside with only a few leeches to cover it.

And the movie contains plenty of laughs. Somehow, this silly romp manages to perfectly blend the action-adventure and rom-com genres. It’s an impressive feat. The Lost City isn’t a serious movie—you’re not going to gain deeper insight into what it means to be human. It knows what it is: A lighthearted love story in which opposites attract in the jungle while dodging bullets and explosions. And it’s frightfully entertaining.

Beth: If I don’t get to this island, my friend and her cover model are going to die.

I’m Collin Garbarino.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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