It’s not the Kennedy family or legacy that suffers with the controversial eight-part miniseries The Kennedys (which finally premieres Sunday on the Reelz Channel after it was famously scrapped by the History channel).
Critics say it's the people involved in the project -- particularly Katie Holmes, who plays Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
The Hollywood Reporter
's Tim Goodman
writes that everytime the actress comes on screen, "You think, 'That’s Katie Holmes.' Or, 'That’s Katie Holmes having the damndest time with Jackie’s accent.' You are never transported somewhere else by the character because the real-life subjects are so distinctive in your mind."
's Ramin Setoodeh, who weighed in on CBS' Early Show
, admits that it's tough for any actor to play a real person that viewers all know. But Holmes "doesn't really have the gravitas to pull off the role," he says. "And the accent, it's a little silly -- for eight hours, it's a long time to be, you know, watching her play this character in the way that she does."
Sporting the first lady’s signature Camelot-era bouffant, Holmes definitely "looks the part" of JFK's long-suffering wife, notes Variety
. "And that's about all." London's The Independent
even goes as far as saying, "The feeling persists that she was cast more for her resemblance to the former First Lady than anything else."
Another problem for the actress, says the New Yorker
's Nancy Franklin: She doesn't have any chemistry with Greg Kinnear
, who plays JFK. "There’s barely even physics - they hardly come into contact with each other," writes Franklin, who says Holmes "hasn’t deepened as an actress since her not very deep days in the teen soap opera Dawson’s Creek
- which gave the miniseries just one-and-half stars - echoes that sentiment. Not only does she fail "to capture" Jackie O's "magic," the magazine says her "dynamic with JFK is muddled by rote depictions of historical events and tawdry scenes of his womanizing and drug use (he gets a shot from "Dr. Feelgood").
But not everyone thinks Holmes is hurting as Jackie O.
Filmmaker John Ziegler of The Daily Caller
, which was co-founded by conservative-leaning TV personality Tucker Carlson,
says Holmes is a dead wringer for Jackie O and "since so little is known about the real Jackie Kennedy, it is tough to judge how accurate her portrayal of her really is."
Adds Linda Stasi of the right-leaning The New York Post:
"It takes a while for Holmes to get her Jackie on, but once it's on, you won't believe you aren't watching film clips of the first lady."