Monday, April 11, 2022
The Lost City
Now that I've kinda synopsized the movie, I might as well cut to the Three Scenes That Made It For Me: (1) Bullock and Tatum set up a trap for a couple of motorcycle goons who are chasing them through the jungle, and end up unintentionally sending two of them plunging to their deaths. Their reaction is a prime example of the nervous, motormouth type of comedy both actors play throughout this movie, seemingly improvising their hilariously awkward dialogue in moments of distress. (2) One of the villain's henchmen plunges to his death immediately after mocking Tatum for stumbling on a cliffside path. There's an awful lot of henchmen death in this movie; it's a miracle that even one survives, no thanks to Tatum's klutziness when they're sent to kill him during an attempt to extract Bullock from a luxury armored vehicle. (3) Nunez, tackling Radcliffe as he attempts to escape capture: "Where are you going to go? You're on a boat."
All right, so the movie gave me some belly laughs. There was also a certain delicious irony in the way it subverted romantic adventure tropes while increasingly turning into a romantic adventure. You have to accept some inconsistencies to enjoy it, like the fact that Tatum gradually transforms into a heroic figure after being accurately described as a Ken doll earlier in the movie. Somewhere around the point where he shames Bullock for assuming that being a romance novel cover model was the highlight of his existence, he imperceptibly stops being the guy who arrives on a jungle island with a neck pillow still around his neck and a pouch of facial masks in his survival kit, and becomes the guy who instantly picks up Latin dancing at an open-air bar and never lets anything stop him after the night he uses the facial masks to soothe the eczema on his back. Both hero characters' vulnerabilities gradually disappear as they increasingly come to resemble the novel characters Bullock imagines them as, and the secret of the ancient royal tomb inspires the burnt-out author to find her romance-writing groove again, and we are mercifully spared a romance between Randolph and Nunez, and despite a slightly creepy mid-credits scene in which Pitt's character's gruesome demise is preposterously walked back, the audience – most of whom have already left the theater by that point – walks out with a smile. Which, in the last analysis, is the point. It seems so easy, but how many recent movies have gotten it?