Tom Cruise's Career Reboot: Mission Possible?

He shimmied out on to stage, hips jerking, arms waving, looking every bit like the dorky dad at the Bar Mitzvah desperately trying to get down, driving the 13-year-olds off the dance floor in droves.

It was hilarious. And for the first time in a long time, it got people talking not about his beliefs, not about his behavior, but about him.

'Tis the summer of Tom Cruise.

The 47-year-old actor is attempting to reestablish himself as a box office behemoth and remind audiences that hey, he's not just the weirdo who jumped on Oprah Winfrey's couch, told Matt Lauer "You don't know the history of psychiatry, I do" and claimed Scientology cured his dyslexia. He's dancing with J. Lo at the MTV Movie Awards. He's riding motorcycles and shooting guns with Cameron Diaz. He's a movie star, really!

VIDEO: Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lopez bust a few moves at the MTV movie awards.
Tom Cruise Dances at MTV Movie Awards

Convincing audiences of that has been Cruise's real mission impossible. Once Hollywood's go-to action star, Cruise has seen his big screen productions eclipsed over the last few years by grainy Internet videos of him at Scientology ceremonies, accepting the organization's "Freedom Medal of Valor," saluting founder L. Ron Hubbard, and talking about how the religion changed his life. His latest major movie roles in the commercially successful but critically questionable "Valkyrie" and the utter flop "Lions for Lambs" shot him further away from "Top Gun" territory.

Tom Cruise received mixed reviews for the 2008 WWII drama "Valkyrie."

"Tom took too much spotlight away from his career as an actor by heavy handedly preaching Scientology, pushing his romance with Katie Holmes down the public's throats, and acting like he knows all the answers," Village Voice columnist Michael Musto said. "Ever since then, he's been faced with the challenge of restoring the focus to the fact that he's a movie star, not a demagogue with a crush."

That may be why he's relying on his most well received role in recent memory, albeit a minor one, to resurrect his reputation. Cruise spent little time on screen as the hot-headed, filthy-mouthed Les Grossman in 2008's "Tropic Thunder," but grinding to Ludacris' "Get Back" in suspenders, a fat suit and too-tight dress pants garnered him a Golden Globe nomination.

The MTV Movie Awards served as the perfect venue to reintroduce Les Grossman to younger demographic. Now, Cruise wants to extend the spectacled studio exec's five minutes of fame. Backstage, he told E! gossip columnist Marc Malkin that he's working on a Les Grossman movie.

Serious Tom Cruise: Hard to Swallow?

"If he wants to continue making cash, making money, that's what he needs to do," Malkin said. "His last couple of movies didn't do very well. Some people might blame that on Scientology and the fact that he was acting so kooky, but also, they weren't great movies. It's tough to do a WWII movie about the assassination of Hitler ["Valkyrie"] when we all know what the outcome was."

Milking a two-year-old supporting role for feature film material may seem like a stretch, but if it endears Cruise to new fans, it's worth the reach.

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