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National Treasure
Posted to Movies at 07:16 PM on May 29, 2005

2004. Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Jon Turteltaub. Starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Harvey Keitel and Jon Voight.

For some reason, I find Nicolas Cage hysterically amusing.

It's not that he's a bad actor. He's no worse than Orlando Bloom or whoever else they're trying to cram down our throats at any given moment. He's just...goofy. He looks like a goofy, slightly dim plumber. He talks like one, too. He's played a car thief, an FBI agent, and a WWII soldier, and they all sound like they come from the Valley. He does what Keanu Reeves is constantly accused of doing, but Nicolas is ten times worse.

In National Treasure, he is an eccentric from a long line of eccentrics. He is in search of a big stash which has been hidden by our forefathers and the directions to which are cleverly concealed on the Declaration of Independence. He has to steal the Declaration and find clues on it in order to locate the treasure.

He is forced, through a series of misadventures, to drag along a horrible, shrill, annoying woman (Diane Kruger)who works in some goverment agency or other. She is a total drag and is threatening to turn him in after he snags the damn thing. His character is attempting to keep his cool and make decisions while this lady is on his back. Nick can't do that. He gets a very intense look on his face and he starts yelling. He nearly looks constipated but has a twinge of panic in his eyes. It's like watching a father among his unruly brood in one of those sexist ads for department stores. It's hard to tell if he's trying to be funny, and that's what makes watching Nick so much fun.

Speaking of hams, we have Jon Voight as Cage's dad. He is embarrassing. At best, Voight is stiff (Manchurian Candidate, 2004); at worst, he swings wildly between wooden and frantic. His character is supposed to be the voice of reason. He spends part of the movie attempting to talk his son out of finding the treasure, but Voight looks deranged.

Despite the subpar acting, I actually really liked Treasure, believe it or not. It's a pretty decent way to kill two hours. I've come to appreciate nice turn-off-your-brain movies and this is a good one. It's surprisingly fast-paced, given its length.


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