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THE LOST CITY: 2 ½ STARS. “despite a few laughs, it misses the mark.”

“The Lost City,” a new action adventure now playing in theatres, pairs up goofy, good looking actors Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in a new movie about a romance writer, a kidnapping and a secret treasure is a satire of romance stories that actually is a romance.

Bullock plays Loretta Sage, burned-out author of twenty romance novels featuring a Fabio-esque hero named Dash McMahon. Still grieving the loss of her husband, she took years to deliver the manuscript for “The Lost City of D,” an epic adventure that mixes her true loves, archeology and history, with an exploitive romance angle that she has come to hate.

On the front of all the novels Dash is “played” by the world’s sexiest cover model Alan Caprison (Tatum), a sweet-natured hunk with flowing hair and a sculpted torso, who will accompany Loretta on an upcoming promotional tour. He’s dumb-as-a-stump, more Chippendales than Chaucer, but under the long, blonde flowing wig he wears in public is a good guy.

When the author is kidnapped by billionaire Abigail (“It’s a gender-neutral name,” he says.) Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who believes Loretta’s books contain real life clues as to the existence of the legendary Crown of Fire, Alan springs into action. “I’m going to rescue her,” he says. “I want her to think of me as more than just a cover model.”

He enlists the help of Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt), a mercenary with a special set of skills, to breach Fairfax’s secret island compound. “Why are you so handsome,” Loretta asks him. “My dad was a weatherman.” Jack is the real deal, the kind of hero Loretta always imagined Dash would be, but this isn’t the Loretta and Jack story, it’s all about the author and her goofy cover model. “This is so much better than your books,” says Alan about their real-life adventure.

Not funny enough to be a comedy with some action and not action packed enough to be an action comedy, “The Lost City” is somewhere in the mushy middle. The likeable cast is game, and we get the rare chance to see Radcliffe in villain mode, but the movie never quite gels. Too many jokes go south, and, other than the leads, no character really makes much of an impression.

The romance angle is slightly more successful. Big hearted lug Alan loves Loretta. The chemistry between Bullock and Tatum is warm, witty and welcoming, but it’s not enough to rescue a movie that tries hard but feels slipshod.

Brad Pitt slips in for an extended cameo that contains some actual action adventure and a few laughs, but this isn’t his movie. He’s just an added bonus.

“The Lost City” doesn’t take itself seriously, and neither should you. It aims to entertain, but, despite a few laughs, just misses the mark.

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