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Senator Cruise

I saw Lions for Lambs last night, and I certainly agree with Chris Orr (and Anthony Lane) that the movie is pretty terrible. As Chris says, the entire conceit makes no sense, the pacing is leaden, and the politics are confused. Still, I must say I was a bit surprised by this John Podhoretz comment (in an otherwise funny review):

Cruise, who looks far more like John Edwards than any Republican politician, offers plastic platitudes to Streep. Mistakes were made in the past, he says, but now is the time to look forward.

Podhoretz goes on to note that the movie portrays Cruise as an evil Republican. Now, I heard a similar meme about Cruise being a wooden caricature circulating on Fox News, and I must say it puzzles me a little bit that the right has such a problem with the character. Not only does Cruise sound exactly like the editor of the magazine for which Podhoretz reviews films, he also (as Lane points out) is a lot more convincing than any of Fox's talking heads. In short, if you find Senator Jasper Irving unappealing or simple-minded, then what do you have to say about the legions of less charismatic Republican officeholders who say the exact same thing every day?

--Isaac Chotiner