Precious declaration: Cage
photo: Robert Zuckerman

A domestic Da Vinci Code eureka-fest, National Treasure will have you singing the Apprentice theme song: It's a movie about money (ancient treasure), based on money (clues hidden on U.S. legal tender), which will make money (the crowd cheered). Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is one in a line of Gates men who've devoted their lives in search of a vast trove of Egyptian stuff and ka-ching, hidden by the Knights Templar—whose Masonic descendants included at least nine of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. On the back of said document (nicely heisted here) is the key to the goodies—or just the latest riddle.

Gates's cohorts have monikers pulled from an action-movie name generator: archivist Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), de rigueur tech-geek Riley Poole (an expertly wisecracking Justin Bartha). A ruthless rival group, composed of dour foreigners, pursues Gates and company (let's just call them Microsoft) from D.C. to Philly to New York, as does a Harvey Keitel–helmed FBI. Ham-handed to start, with a fondness for cochlea-crushing decibel levels, National Treasure gets more entertaining as the preposterousness rises. So go. Watch. Spend money—it's inevitable. It's what it's about. But maybe pay with a credit card—you might need to scrutinize Alexander Hamilton's eyebrows for additional information.

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