National Treasure: Book of Secrets 

2007

One needs no map to navigate the complex waters of "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," because there aren't any. Like its smash-hit predecessor, the sequel is a good-natured, mildly diverting mix of heists and history, making for two hours of adventure that may not have you on the edge of your seat, but at least will keep you on the couch.

Nicolas Cage reprises his role as Ben Gates, the idiosyncratic treasure hunter now out to unsully the rep of his forefather, newly tagged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of President Lincoln. With re-enlisted gal pal (Diane Kruger), tech wiz (Justin Bartha) and crusty pop (Jon Voight), their mission takes them to Paris, to D.C. and to find a fabled lost city of gold.

Their "Da Vinci Code"-lite exploits don't tax the brain, but tickle the fancy in the impersonal manner of producer Jerry Bruckheimer "? one more concerned with style than substance, although this franchise's brown-and-yellow palette makes the proceedings seem more plodding than they are. "Secrets" is overlong by half an hour, but still worth the time for inoffensive family viewing.

"?Rod Lott

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