The Lost City. M, 112 minutes. Two stars.
When the screwball comedy came along in the 1930s gave us some of the big screen's most iconic pairings - Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant, pretty much anyone and Cary Grant.
Two of Hollywood's most reliable stars, Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, work together in The Lost City as both producers and leads to bring the screwball comedy back.
They're successful in so far as the film plays true to a range of those 1930s bickering couple tropes; they're not so successful in giving the world anything new.
But plenty of people are wanting their comfort food now and don't really want to be challenged.
What is more comforting than the delightful Sandy B acting flustered and kooky, or the bare chest of Channing Tatum, a very frequent feature in this film?
Bullock plays Loretta, the very successful author of a series of lucrative romance novels.
Loretta's audience might love her romance series, but the author herself isn't a fan.
She's a frustrated academic who wrote herself into a job she's not particularly passionate about.
Tatum plays Alan, a himbo male model and the photographic cover star of Loretta's two dozen or so bodice-rippers.
Alan isn't Loretta's cup of tea, either physically or intellectually, but her publicist Beth (Da'Vine Joy Randolph) knows that Loretta's over-intellectualising is not what their audience wants to hear.
As they have a new book to publicise, Alan is tagging along to do his thing.
His thing is to dress up in the long blonde wig and open-chested shirt of his fictional alter ego Dash, hero of Loretta's novels.
At book signings and media events, Loretta's patience is worn thin by the endless fan questions not about her book but asking Alan to take his shirt off.
In this latest of her romance novels, Loretta has written her characters discovering a fabled lost city and its lucrative riches.
Loretta actually knows what she is writing about here, having researched the site with her late archaeologist husband, and the billionaire magnate Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) recognises that this fluffy romance novel offers the closest clues to an archaeological gold mine.
When Fairfax kidnaps Loretta, only Alan recognises the danger to her. Alan, who has secretly harboured feelings for her, hires a mercenary (Brad Pitt) to rescue her, and tags along himself.
There's a huge supporting cast working for this film, each of them enough to make you buy a ticket.
Daniel Radcliffe and Brad Pitt, what a combo.
Both in their own way enjoy a bit of scenery-chewing as trope-filled villain and hero roles.
Rising comedic star Bowen Yang enjoys a good scene as one of the book tour Q&A moderators and Randolph should get arrested for stealing every scene she is in.
Like the old Kathleen Turner-Michael Douglas Romancing the Stone films, the action segues between real life and fun scenes from the romance novels.
Tatum performs well, and had me wondering the ninth time his shirt came off if it still exploitation when it's you doing the exploiting of yourself?
There's probably a Susan Sontag essay that would answer that one for me, but I don't have the time to look it up.
There are five writers sharing screenplay credit, but for me the writing of Bullock's character was the weakest element.
We know she's smart because she and the writers tell us throughout, but a really advanced mind wouldn't be as mean and dismissive about the people around her.
Tatum's character does end up calling her out on this.
If only there was more of that scene's insight, the film might have a stronger audience connection.
The screenplay does give Bullock a choice series of set-ups to demonstrate her prowess for physical comedy that makes her more than a match for the Hepburns and Russells.
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