A reclusive romance novelist on a book tour with her cover model gets swept up in a kidnapping attempt that lands them both in a cutthroat jungle adventure.
THE GOOD STUFF
CHEMISTRY- I’ve always had a theory as to what makes the good Sandra Bullock comedies work. Over the decades it all seems kind of hit or miss right? But, in watching The Lost City, I think I had an epiphany as to the way the GOOD Bullock comedies work:
*Bullock must play what they call “the straight man” ( or in this case, Person). The person setting up the jokes for the co-star. She must NOT be the zany one. Whenever she is, things just kind of go awkwardly (ALL ABOUT STEVE, FORCES OF NATURE, TWO WEEKS NOTICE)
*Her co-star must be a physical type of comedic actor. (Ryan Reynolds, Melissa McCarthy) The more cartoonish and/or sarcastic the better. Actors with a dry sense of humor tend to not fair too well.
*CHEMISTRY. The thing that happens when the jokes aren’t being told and we actually have to tell the story of the film. Whether the writing is good or not, the audience enjoyment of a Bullock comedy is between her and the co-star ALWAYS. The writing is sprinkles on the sundae so to speak. Sandra Bullock comedies aren’t exactly unpredictable so we know where things tend to end up as far as the writing goes.
Channing Tatum is the perfect kind of comedic actor to be paired with Sandra Bullock in a comedy like this. They are really fun to watch together, and he knocks down every joke that she sets up. You would think that these two had done 20 movies together.
PITT- I’m happy that they actually spoiled what could have been a very surprise cameo in this film by telling you that Brad Pitt was essentially a part of the cast. Why? Because I get to say once again what I’ve been saying about Brad Pitt since I saw him in Burn After Reading all the way back in 2008… He is a better comedic actor than he is anything else. Like Channing Tatum, he has toiled in dramatic waters for so long that we forget over and over again how gifted he is for making the absurd that much more hilarious.
That trailer for bullet train is now making the rounds on the front of every movie you will see in a theater for the next couple of weeks, and I was on the fence about it. But then seeing him in this, I feel I was shown the comedic potential of what that film could be. And I’m on it.
DANIEL RADCLIFFE- When I think of all the child stars that spend their entire adult career trying to eclipse the really famous thing they did back in the day that made them famous, they often fail. Recently, actors such as Kristen Stewart, Zendaya, and Robert Pattinson have simply let the work speak for itself, stayed consistent, and have gained an identity unto themselves. More so than any of those actors, I would say that Daniel Radcliffe has had to climb a STEEPER hill to climb in order to separate himself from the now iconic role of Harry Potter, and his performances continue to impress whether it be on TV, independent films, on stage, or in movies such as this.
He’s nothing more here than a sniveling villain with a punchable face. But think about that. Wanting to punch Harry Potter’s face due to on-screen douchebaggery… has to be considered to be a hell of an achievement for Radcliffe, no? It’s got to be. Bravo to him.
Speaking of that though…
THE BAD STUFF
THE USAGE OF DANIEL RADCLIFFE- Perhaps because of all the jungle set action sequences, when I watch this movie, I couldn’t help but to be reminded of the movie UNCHARTED that came out in February. I couldn’t help but to think of all of the screen time that those boring, routine AF villains had in that movie.
Here is a movie way more based in comedy, and yet the charismatic, entertaining, douchebag villain that Radcliffe is playing, the villain that has been prominently featured in the advertising… is kind of barely there. I almost want to say the second act of this movie BARELY features him, and it’s a little weird. He is a character that could have had a little bit more backstory that would have deserved a lot more screen time if not for the useless subplot heavily featured in the second act featuring Da’Vine Joy Randolph.
Speaking of that though…
THE UGLY STUFF
THE RANDOLPH SUBPLOT- This is the first thing that I’ve seen Da’vine Joy Randolph in. I can tell she is comedically gifted based off of the very little she has to do in this film. Her performance is not my complaint. My complaint mostly has to do with the fact that the second act of this really works where other comedies of its type tend to fail.
But then I guess we have to cut to the really unfunny adventures of Sandra Bullock’s assistant trying to locate her in the jungle via GPS. Why we must cut to this? I don’t know. When everything else is working at this point in the story in terms of the chemistry of its leads, the story (kinda), jokes, romantic subplot, EVERYTHING… We derail the momentum of it all by cutting to this subplot.
I really hate to sound mean when I say this, but whenever you see Randolph on screen by herself… You can take your bathroom breaks there. There’s almost nothing she does in this film pertaining to the main storyline.
Sandra Bullock has built her legacy largely because of genre films such as this. She specializes in this kind of film more than any of her current peers, and you can add this film to the ones that work very well.
Of course this is a flawed film, but by this point you should know what this movie is trying to do. It’s a movie that goes down very well with popcorn on a Friday or Saturday night. And it’s always nice to see when movies like that are well executed.
THE LOST CITY is playing IN THEATERS now.