Robert Zuckerman
Nicolas Cage, left, Justin Bartha and Jon Voight in the adventure "National Treasure: Book of Secrets."

NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS — ** — Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Ed Harris; rated PG (violence, vulgarity, mild profanity)

The first "National Treasure" movie wasn't exactly a cinematic treasure. In fact, it was pretty silly, though it was good natured and somewhat enjoyable.

But the doing-it-for-the-cash sequel, subtitled "Book of Secrets," leans more to the silly side than the enjoyable.

To be fair, it's not without a few goofy thrills. But we've seen most — if not all — of this done before, and done much better, in both the first film as well as the Indiana Jones movies.

Nicolas Cage reprises his role as Benjamin Franklin Gates, who's still uncovering long-lost secrets and treasures.

He now has a fortune-hunting competitor in the person of Jeb Wilkinson (Ed Harris), who has evidence that implicates Ben's great-grandfather in Abraham Lincoln's assassination.

Ben's personal life isn't going so well either. He's on the outs with his girlfriend, Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), though he'll need her help to clear the family name. And, of course, his father (Jon Voight) and wisecracking assistant Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) are along for the ride.

The resulting adventure takes them around the world, from Paris to Buckingham Palace, then to the White House and Mount Rushmore. And it may may also lead them to a legendary lost City of Gold.

It's not a terrible setup, but things flounder because of Jon Turtletaub's uninspired direction and a by-the-numbers script that comes from the writers of "I Spy," "The Shaggy Dog" remake and other duds.

Again, it's not a complete waste. Some of the film's best moments come from the bickering between Voight's character and a very-welcome Helen Mirren, who plays his ex-wife, a lost languages expert.

However, Cage looks ridiculous in an unflattering hairpiece. And Harris sounds as if he's trying different Southern accents for his "Gone Baby Gone" role, which was released first but was shot after this film.

"National Treasure: Book of Secrets" is rated PG for violent action (gunplay, shootings and vehicular mayhem), moments of peril, some suggestive language and mild toilet humor, and scattered mild profanity (mostly religiously based). Running time: 124 minutes.

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