ACTION COMEDY; 1hr 52min
STARRING: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe
Romancing the stud: Bullock and Tatum
In classic romantic comedies, impossible forces and immovable objects will click with luck and timing into the champagne fizz of chemistry. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum give that effervescence the old college try — she prickly and awkward, he musclebound and well-meaning — as adventure novelist Loretta Sage and her cover model-slash-fictional hero, Dash (real name Alan).
Although she no longer appears to have a romantic bone in her slimline body, loner widow Loretta churns out wildly escapist yet fact-based books, courtesy of groundwork she covered with her archaeologist husband. Her latest outing, The Lost City of D, has caught the fancy of an unhinged British billionaire (Radcliffe as Abigail) who believes that the buried island treasure in Loretta’s book actually exists. With Loretta less than helpful, Abigail (it’s “gender neutral,” apparently) kidnaps her in his private plane and flies her to the island, which he also happens to own. Vowing to be a hero, as opposed to merely posing as one, Alan enlists the supercharged services of a man he can only dream of being (Brad Pitt, crushing a cameo as a CIA spook) and heads to the Atlantic jungle on what is literally a fool’s errand.
It’s there that the film’s two stars align, surfing dialogue and slapstick with snappy sincerity while pursued by a pack of mean-ass henchmen. A lipsticked Bullock is poured into a sequinned jumpsuit, Tatum is as shirtless as he needs to be, and although this mildly fun watch never makes the quantum leap to fall-about-funny, there is no questioning its commitment to the mechanics of the caper. The repartee could use a grindstone but director brothers Adam and Aaron Nee and their camera-friendly cast plug gamely away at the pep and pretty visuals that keep a gleaming Hollywood show on the road.