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!
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.