Tom Cruise in Valkyrie: 'Distractingly Bad'

That's the headline on Associated Press' review of the Scientology bigwig's new "let's kill Hitler!" film. Everyone (well, lotsa people) want to slam this film, and the AP's early dig is hard to top.

Christy Lemire seems to actually like the rest of the film, but can't seem to let go of the whole "Cruise-is-awful" meme:

It's too bad, too, because "Valkyrie" looks great. With its impeccable production design and German locations - including the Bendlerblock in Berlin, where Operation Valkyrie began and where members of the anti-Nazi resistance were executed after it failed - it feels substantial, never CGI-fake, and it moves fluidly. No one ever doubted the ability of Bryan Singer, director of the first two "X-Men" movies, to make a solid, energetic actioner. But - and this is going to sound like more piling on - Cruise undermines the potential of "Valkyrie" at every turn.

It's the headline 'distractingly bad' that will be remembered because it is so cruel. Yes, it plainly calls Cruise bad without trying to hedge anything. But it's also just so dismissive. "What a nuisance that Tom Cruise has become!" it seems to be saying. Finally a film review to match his increasingly grating public persona. Hell, she even says: "the iconography of his celebrity so strongly overshadowing his performance." I guess all that Tropic Thunder goodwill may have already evaporated.

Aside from the salvo from the AP, Valkyrie actually isn't doing too badly in the reviews department so far, if Rotten Tomatoes is to be believed. But many of the 'top critics' have not yet weighed in, and we're sure the likes of the Davids Denby and Edelstein are sharpening their pens to pepper their critiques with witty little barbs. Well, at least we hope they are. But kudos to Lemire for getting such a strong, nasty start so early out of the gate!