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KVUE Review: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum offer escapist fun in 'The Lost City'

The new film from directors Aaron and Adam Nee had its world premiere at SXSW 2022 on Saturday.

AUSTIN, Texas — If you're looking for an escape from reality, you can find one in "The Lost City."

The film, which had its world premiere at South by Southwest (SXSW) on Saturday, stars Sandra Bullock as a writer with a wounded heart and Channing Tatum as a hunk with a heart of gold.

Here's the gist: Loretta Sage (Bullock, who also produced) is a reclusive romance novelist set to go on a book tour with her cover model, Alan. But before the tour takes off, Loretta is kidnapped by an egomaniacal media mogul (Daniel Radcliffe, playing fantastically against type) who wants her to lead him to an ancient city's treasure from her latest book. Alan wants Loretta to think he's more than just a pretty face, so he sets out to rescue her – with the help of an ex-Navy SEAL played by Brad Pitt.

In the introduction before the film's premiere, directors Aaron and Adam Nee said they wanted to make a film that offered audiences "a great escape," in the vein of films like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Romancing the Stone." With "The Lost City," they succeeded.

The film is nonstop fun that never takes itself too seriously. The jokes are tight, the story is fast-paced and the romance doesn't feel shoehorned in. Bullock and Tatum have great chemistry and comedic timing, and you want to see them fall in love just as much as you want them to survive the jungle. 

And it isn't just Bullock and Tatum. Radcliffe clearly had a blast playing a bad guy, and Da'Vine Joy Randolph and Oscar Nuñez have a B plot that will leave you wanting a spinoff with just their characters. 

In Saturday's post-film Q&A with the Nee brothers, producer Liza Chasin, Bullock and Radcliffe, the group kept going back to the idea of "joy," remarking on both what a joy it was for them to make this film and the joy they hope it brings audiences.

Joyous escapism – isn't that what going to the movies is all about? In that respect, "The Lost City" is a treasure.

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