“In Hollywood, there’s redemption, and then there’s redemption,” writes Business Week‘s Ron Grover. “For most folks who make or star in films, redemption is having a hit after a real stinker — when, say, Jim Carrey actually makes another movie that someone other than his immediate family wants to see. The other type of redemption is the kind that superstar Tom Cruise and his longtime producing partner Paula Wagner hope to enjoy soon.”

Fair enough — Cruise and Wagner have bounced back. But then Grover goes into a little tap-dance. This is a piece about redemption, but first Grover has to deal with the very first film coming out of the new Cruise-Wagner United Artists/MGM pipeline..

“On Nov. 9, Lions for Lambs, a political flick starring Cruise, hits theaters,” he writes. “It’s the first in an expected long line of films produced by the duo through United Artists, the company they jointly own with MGM. Will it be a hit? Who knows. The gods of Hollywood can be cruel.” In other words, he’s heard it’s a tank. There isn’t an industry journalist, analyst or pulse-taker out there who hasn’t picked up this scent, and usually — not absolutely but more often than not — this much smoke indicates fire.

I’ve heard one good thing. A friend recently spoke to an actor who has a friend who’s seen it, and this friend-of-the-actor (and you have to watch out for friends- of-actors, as they tend to gladhand) that Cruise’s performance as a right-wing U.S. Senator is “very good.” That’s not surprising, if true. Cruise is excellent at playing adamant and dead-sure-of-himself — think of his interrogation of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, his misogynist messiah in Magnolia, his Today show argument with Matt Lauer.

The unpleasant bump-in-the-road acknowledged and dispensed with, Grover recovers and gets back to the basic theme: “The fact that Cruise and Wagner are in business making films again,” he says, “speaks volumes about human determination, the power of an A-list superstar, and, well, mountains of money.”