If only it were less easy to laugh at “Oblivion,” a lackluster science-fiction adventure with Tom Cruise that, even before its opening, was groaning under the weight of its hard-working, slowly fading star and a title that invites mockery of him and it both. The agony of being a longtime Tom Cruise fan has always been a burden, but now it’s just, well, dispiriting. You not only have to ignore the din of the tabloids and swat away the buzzing generated by his multiple headline-ready dramas, you also have to come to grips with the harsh truth that it no longer actually matters why and how Tom Terrific became less so. No one else much cares.This opening paragraph is followed by another much like it, in which Dargis argues pretty much the same thing: Tom Cruise is on the way out because he's nuts. This train of thought makes up most of the review. There's little time spent actually defending why Oblivion is lackluster or why,
as Dargis suggests, there is something wrong with the film mashing together a number of different SF ideas (this is a charge that applies to basically all SF films these days, so it seems like a pointless argument if you can't add something, well, original to it -- ha!).
Many of the other reviews I've read have not done this. David Edelstein made a Scientology joke in his review on Vulture, but it was not the central "thesis" of his argument about Oblivion. Others might drop a hint at Cruise's personal life or nothing whatsoever. But most of them justified their critiques of Oblivion by addressing the film itself. They wrote actual reviews, not character assassinations.
That is exactly what Dargis did -- she went for the jugular and forgot to actually write a review.