Cruise really may be the hardest-working man in show business right now, but on him (in direct contrast to James Brown), all that sweat just isn’t cool. Once coolness leaves you, how do you get it back?
As big a box-office draw as Cruise may have been in days of yore, he was never truly cool; he has always tried too hard. The more frightening reality, as posed by the ambitious but unsatisfying spy caper Knight and Day, is that he will never, ever go away. (Stephanie Zacharek, “Robotic Tom Cruise Weighs Down Knight and Day,” Movieline, 22 June 2010)
Tom Cruise is like Roger Ebert: For awhile (much shorter, of course, with Ebert -- but it did happen with him) we play at making them seem out of date, now sort of ridiculous, but we ultimately decide to keep around, find a set and respected place for, because they still seem more moved by something inside them, self-directed, than just another uber-savy embodiment of our stuck and cranky l'esprit du temps. Cruise is never with it: when the savy begin to suspect they're personality thin and possibly soulless, lack trust in themselves and fear / suspect their "friends," this speaks more of lost innocence we need to recover or enshrine than ridiculousness too long kept in view. Cruise could force us to jettison him, but we won't make it easy for him.