Directed by: Adam Nee & Aaron Nee
Written by: Oren Uziel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee, Aaron Nee, and Seth Gordon
Sandra Bullock has been America’s Sweetheart, after Julia Roberts, for decades. She dominated the romantic comedy genre for years and years, but then left the genre for more dramatic films like Gravity (2014) and The Blind Side (2010), which won her an Oscar for Best Actress. Here she returns in a role we are happy to see her again in: A smart, quirky, and cantankerous woman who struggles against her environment and situation to discover new things about herself before finally letting go of the fear or things holding her back from life. She essentially plays this character again and again in every film she is in. Yet with comedy, you get some laughs along the way. Channing Tatum has largely disappeared from main star film characters for some time now. Outside of the Magic Mike films, he now makes cameo appearances most of the time these days (he was a delight in Free Guy 2021)
Here come the spoilers….
Dr. Loretta Sage is a romance-adventure author whose novels centered on a fictional heroine, Dr. Angela Lovemore, and her romantic interest, Dash McMahon. To promote the latest book on Lovemore, her publisher insists that Loretta embark on a book tour with Alan Caprison, the book’s cover model for Dash, despite her reclusiveness since the death of her husband and complete disdain for Alan. At their first event, where Alan as Dash steals the spotlight, Loretta leaves and is taken by Abigail Fairfax, a billionaire who realizes that Loretta based her books on actual historic research she did with her late archaeologist husband. He discovered a lost city on a remote island and is convinced the Crown of Fire, a priceless treasure, is hidden somewhere on the island. When she declines to help decipher an ancient map to the treasure, Fairfax, fearing an active volcano will destroy the site, chloroforms and takes Loretta to the island.
Alan, who is secretly in love with Loretta, witnesses her kidnapping. He calls in a favor with a trainer named Jack Trainer. Jack, played to absolutely hilarious effect by Brad Pitt, is a former Navy SEAL turned CIA operative. Alan meets him on the island and they coordinate a rescue. Jack easily, with no assistance from Alan, breaches Fairfax’s compound and frees Loretta. Then suddenly is shot in the head before they can make it to the airport. This forces Loretta and Alan to escape into the jungle. They spend all day fighting off Fairfax’s men before reaching a nearby village, where upon hearing a folk song from a local, Loretta deduces that the treasure is hidden where the waterfalls meet in the jungle. Before they can leave, however, Fairfax captures her again, kicking off a chase by Alan to save Loretta once more.
The two are then forced to share the treasure’s location with Fairfax. Upon reaching the location, they discover the tomb is not a monument to the old King and Queen’s power, but a hiding place for the queen to grieve for her husband. Her “Crown of Fire” was made of red seashells gathered by him as a sign of his love for her. The actual treasure of the legend was not a priceless jewel but the inseparable love between the king and queen.
The film wraps up pretty quickly with Fairfax being arrested. Loretta’s next book, based on her adventure with Alan, is a hit, and they share a kiss at the end of their next book tour. Now with this film as with any comedy….I always note how comedy is the hardest thing to write. Not everyone will appreciate or get the jokes or humor. This film is written for the common denominator and nothing comes off as too racy or provocative. Possibly bringing in another comedic writer on the team could’ve punched up some dialogue here and there but otherwise not much can be done to improve this film but give it more Jack. Quite honestly those sequences were perhaps the funniest of the entire film.
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Writing Movie Wrongs (MovieWrongs.com) was created by Author Jim West to show how great storytelling is built on strong writing. In each review, he aims to highlight points in film that capture what the medium is capable of, or provide feedback on small improvements that would make a huge difference to the story’s plot. Read more about Jim West at JimWestAuthor.com.