An eccentric historian (Nicolas Cage), convinced that the Declaration of Independence has a coded map leading to an ancient, fabulous treasure, decides to steal the map in order to protect it—and the treasure—from an unscrupulous colleague (Sean Bean). Writers Jim Kouf, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley have cranked out some turkeys in the past (Taxi
, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
and Bad Boys II
), but give credit where it’s due: This is one jim-dandy adventure, preposterous but irresistible, with some bonus nuggets of history and a sugarcoated civics lesson thrown in for good measure. Cage makes an engaging hero, with Diane Kruger (as a National Archives executive) along for romance and Justin Bartha (as Cage’s sidekick) along for comic relief. Jon Turteltaub directs with nimble panache.