The 9 Most Scathing Critical Responses to The Kennedys

Ever since Jon Cassar's Kennedys mini-series was dumped by the History Channel, audiences probably figured that the project -- starring Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy and Katie Holmes as Jacqueline -- was bad. Even so, viewers still wouldn't have predicted that the Camelot narrative (premiering this Sunday on Reelz) would be as bad as critics are making it out. Ahead, the nine most scathing responses to The Kennedys.

9. "Controversy shouldn't obscure the major flaw in The Kennedys: Not mangling history or sullying a famous family, but being painfully shallow and woefully bad. [...] All told, the whole thing plays like a bad telenovela filtered through a 'History for Dummies' text." -- Brian Lowry, Variety

8. "As for Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes, both may be fine actors (he, in particular, has done good work on film). But the sad truth is, if either had the charisma or star wattage needed to capture JFK and Jackie, neither would be available for a miniseries that started on History and ended up on Reelz." -- Robert Bianco, USA Today

7. "It would seem that the producers have spent handsomely on star talent and on hairdressing, with Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes respectively blow-dried and bouffanted into commemorative-plate perfection as JFK and Jackie. It would seem, also, that lower priorities included the construction of credible sets (is the exterior of the White House fabricated from drywall?), the hiring of enough extras to fill out a campaign rally properly, or even a family dinner (where's Teddy?), and contracting the services of a competent dialect coach." -- Troy Patterson Slate

6. "The only reason to watch The Kennedys'? To find out how to flatten a few of the 20th century's most dramatic historical moments and best-known figures into a slow week of One Life to Live. -- Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe

5. Poor Katie Holmes has been savaged for being in over her head, and it's true: Doe eyes and a pout only go so far. She says she soaked up historical videos to get Jackie's accent down, but it feels like it belongs in The Fighter, not the White House. [...] Caroline: My sympathies." -- Paige Wiser, Chicago Sun-Times

4. "Kennedys feels like a paint-by-numbers recitation of history and a not-very-sordid waste of artistic license. Do the Kennedys look bad in this miniseries? No, they look like cartoons, and anyone with enough interest in politics and family dynasties will be sadly disappointed by the caricatures." -- Tim Goodman, THR

3. "The controversial miniseries about America's famed political dynasty lands with a thud. As iconic first lady Jackie Kennedy, Katie Holmes pouts Dawson's Creek-style, failing to capture her magic. Worse, her dynamic with JFK is muddled by rote depictions of historical events and tawdry scenes of his womanizing and drug use." -- John Griffiths, Us

2. "[Barry] Pepper and Greg Kinnear are merely earnest and blandly likable as Bobby and Jack, lacking the Kennedy spark, and Holmes hasn't deepened as an actress since her not very deep days in the teen soap opera Dawson's Creek." -- Nancy Franklin, New Yorker

1. "Whether hopped up or chilled out on painkillers, philandering compulsively, or being downright rude to Frank Sinatra, the Kennedy family certainly comes off like a dreadful bunch in The Kennedys, a miniseries with a vengeance. The most striking thing about this eight-part production may be the disconnect between its subject and its execution: There's some terrific acting here, but it's done in the service of a hatchet job." -- Ken Tucker, EW

The Kennedys airs Sunday night on Reelz.


  • NP says:

    The yin to _Mildred Pierce_'s yang? Miniseries polarity.

  • RecceR says:

    All of those people should be ashamed of themselves. It feels like the whole entertainment community has blacklisted The Kennedys mini-series just because, for mysterious reasons, History dumped it. The History channel did not say it was “bad,” they actually made a comment saying “it did not fit our programming.” I’m not sure why a mini-series about the historical events of one of America’s greatest presidents and dynasties did not fit programming on the History Channel, especially when they were all for it when they produced the entire project. Someone is paying someone off to blacklist this project and it may not be a masterpiece, but it doesn’t deserve all of that hate. And another thing, reviewers and critics always feel they are the people and when they comment like the ones above, they never once use “I.” When the fact is, that is their opinion. For those critics and reviewers, I would say that you failed to acknowledge the mysteriously poor treatment of this series and you played right into the game of the ones holding the cards, or money. And to the people who are actually excited to see this, I would say to ignore all the hateful reviews and all reviews. Go into this series with a clean slate and you be the judge of how good or bad it is.

  • Cameron Williams says:

    The Katie Holmes hatin' smacks of jealousy. She is a beautiful woman and very talented. It's not her fault the script and/or direction of this miniseries is third rate. She was great in Dawson's Creek, she was great in The Gift, Go and yes, much more believable as Bruce Wayne's love interest than Maggie Gyllenhaal. Everybody stop following each other's tales like sheep and find a legitimate target. Yes, it may require more work than trolling the internet you lazy hacks!

  • Cameron Williams says:

    Face facts, Katie is better looking and more intelligent than Jackie O' ever was. Jackie married an ugly, rich old-man just so she could keep herself in the style to which she'd grown accustomed, shallow bitch. Just watch the ladies of Grey Gardens for an insight into what J.O. would've been like minus the fame and money. America has an inferiority complex that imbues it's celebrities with unrealistic value.

  • smash says:

    Interesting parallel. One marries some old rich guy to keep up her lifestyle, the other marries a creepy aging movie star to usher her into the heights of fame.
    Can't wait to see the miniseries based on Katie's life.

  • Cameron Williams says:

    Yes, I had thought of that parallel. I just don't like the recent journalistic trend to jump on the band-wagon once somebody with an agend tries to rip someone down. Take the vitriol poured on Dane Cook for example. The guy had huge success that he worked very hard for. Jealousy is an ugly thing.

  • Wandering Menstrual says:

    Thanks for blowin' the lid off that conspiracy, detective. All this time I was thinking it was getting bad reviews because it was bad. But now that I know there's an insidious Illuminati group that not only has the power to bribe History Channel into shelving a project it sunk huge sums of money into, but also to sway critics to unanimously pan it, everything makes much more sense.