The lost city is perhaps best experienced as a comprehensive look at how modern studio comedies are produced on this level. The first step is to start with a new premise. In this case, we have a modern update of Romanticize the stone which cleverly flips the genre dynamic of this film. The Indiana Jones character played by Michael Douglas is replaced here by a gloriously goofy turn by Channing Tatum (while also loosely parodied by Brad Pitt’s “Jack Trainer” character), and the romance novelist played by Kathleen Turner is now widowed. historian who is notably *slumming* as a romance novelist, played by Sandra Bullock.
And then the whole project goes through a truly impressive assembly line process that eliminates all of the most problematic and/or least salable edges (starting with the scrap “of D” from the end of the original title) while throwing so many comedian roundtables in the edit until the whole film oozes the kind of joke-laden humor designed to ensure audiences never get bored (the real laughter being a secondary concern). Not only did the main cast spend most of the initial production mercilessly riffing on the premise of each scene over multiple takes, but the lines from those aforementioned punch rounds were also recorded in post-production to be dropped later – some of them by supporting characters who are barely glimpsed onscreen during the film.
It may sound ironic or concise when I say this, but I think it’s truly amazing that this process exists and works half as well as it does. Studios have gotten very smart about how they implement their myriad of little post-production fixes, and most viewers won’t even begin to suspect anything is wrong with things as they go. that they unfold. For me, it was an awkward needle drop here, an artificially extended scene with obvious improvisational riffs there, and an overall tonal imbalance that threatened to throw the whole movie off the rails from the start. That the filmmakers were able to navigate this gauntlet is hugely impressive. That the film feels like a real story with real characters as it reaches its conclusion is a miracle.
The items that work here work extremely well. The ultimate reveal that Bullock’s character backstory mirrors the history of the titular “Lost City” more than she might have suspected is thoughtful and thoughtful. The evolution of the relationship between Tatum and Bullock’s characters feels organic and deserved. Da’Vine Joy Randolph takes what might have read as an insulting ‘black best friend’ character on the page and imbues it with a life and personality that is essential for the entire second half of the film to work. . There’s even a sequence – in which a dress is used as a decoy – where including seemingly every variation on a line read is actually key to making the scene work as well as it does (for me , it’s probably the funniest of the whole film).
Overall, it’s clear that this is a film that has gone through a long post-production process, in which the seams remain quite evident on screen. He does not claim the specificity of personality which Romanticize the stone possessed in abundance, but it approaches its main characters with similar empathy and attention to detail. While I’d say the jokes here have a frustratingly high success rate (almost by default), the movie’s more dramatic elements are largely well-executed. It’s an impressive achievement and quite a powerful distillation of a very specific vein of big studio cinema.