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Unintentionally Unsympathetic / Film

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    Films — Animated 
  • Sinbad from Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas can easily come off as this due to the nature of his character. He spends a huge chunk of the film being a real jackass, treating the idea of stealing the Book of Peace and holding it for ransom like its no big deal (and since the book is needed to maintain world order, this basically makes Sinbad the biggest asshole in the universe for wanting to steal it) initially plans to leave his friend Proteus to die (who, mind you, stepped up to bat for Sinbad when the latter was framed for stealing the book, at the potential cost of his own life if Sinbad fails to retrieve the book) and hightail it to Fiji with his crew, and acts like a sexist jerk to Marina. While he does eventually prove himself to be a good person, it can be hard to sympathize with him until the films third act.
  • Valka in How to Train Your Dragon 2. So a dragon smiled at your baby? Well, the obvious move after that dragon carries you off is to leave behind all your loved ones, letting them think you're dead, using the flimsy excuse that your husband is too violent a man to understand your friendship with the dragon, but then leaving your only child with said husband which will no doubt lead to an abusive relationship. It's not hard to see that she was originally intended be a bad guy, with her motivation boiling down to "dragons are good and people are evil."
  • Ricardo of The Jungle King. The story tries to present him as a funny sidekick and outright gives him a happy ending, even though he clearly helped with Chancellor Hyena's treason plan and doesn't show any signals of remorse or willingness to be good. Even if he is mistreated by Hyena, his lack of actual redeeming qualities make him unsympathetic.
  • One of the bigger complaints about Chicken Little is that the dad, Buck, is supposed to be a guy who just wants to connect with his son, but the movie repeatedly shows him to be a bad father. He neglects his son repeatedly when his son is ostracized by the community. He only gets interested when his son wins a baseball game and brings him some fame among the other parents, but when his son needs him, he turns his back again. It takes the literal apocalypse to get him to try to actually reconcile.
  • Davey from Eight Crazy Nights apparently lost his parents in a car accident on their way to see him on his basketball game... during Hanukkah. Even worse, before he learned of their deaths, he worked himself to the core winning as a tribute to not only his parents, but to the parents who always came to watch their kids play basketball... despite the fact that they never win! While that may pass him off to be a Jerkass Woobie, the way he takes his anger out on nearly everyone and acts like an outright bully really loses him sympathy points. Yes, he eventually learns to be a better person, but he also never faces any consequences for his nasty behavior or selfish attitude, which, as many critics have pointed out, is not how someone tends to deal with what he went through.
  • Big Bad Sunset Shimmer's Evil Plan from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls resulted in her transforming into a demon, brainwashing Canterlot High, and trying to murder those in her way. This was meant to be her being corrupted into something much worse than she was normally willing to act; thus her shock, horror, revulsion, and Heel–Face Turn after her defeat. But, while Sunset never used physical violence prior (even letting Spike go when could have pulled a Hostage for MacGuffin), she had been such an Alpha Bitch through the whole movie that said Pet the Dog came off more as arrogance than anything deserving redemption. And according to her origin-story comic, Sunset had been acting like a Spoiled Brat for quite a while before then, only coming to the human world when she threw a tantrum that Celestia wouldn't make her a princess, making Sunset look even more petty. Thus, most found her deservingness of forgiveness lacking, and many suspected she was faking remorse to get off easier. The creators used an Author's Saving Throw in Rainbow Rocks to address this, since the rest of the school was just as unforgiving to Sunset, all while putting her through constant abuse and reminders of what a terrible person she was, making her Heel–Face Turn feel more sympathetic.
  • The Emoji Movie unfortunately is quite prone to this, particularly with the main character. We're meant to sorry for Gene since he is ostracized by his emoji community for his ability to make several other emotions instead of just one. However, he later freaks out at his first day of work for just having to hold one single face, which clearly isn't too hard, causes several apps to be deleted and even leaves the Just Dance girl, Akiko Glitter, to die in the trash along with the trolls while rescuing Hi-5, which is even worse considering the fact that he's the reason she's there in the first place.
    • Jailbreak also counts too. While we're supposed to feel sorry for her due to being created as a gender stereotype emoji and wants to prove that women are just as capable as men, she comes across as a Straw Feminist who constantly feels the need to point this out to everyone. It doesn't help that in the 21st century, princesses are now being portrayed as more independent and favorable amongst both genders so her argument towards her being the princess emoji is utterly pointless. Then there is her cold dismissal of Gene's feelings who tries to justify that she wants independence but comes off as more not wanting to commit to a relationship due to the possibility of being a victim of misogyny despite the fact that Gene is not that kind of person.
  • Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas:
    • Daisy in "Donald's Gift". She's supposed to be a victim of Donald's selfishness: First he doesn't want to go to the mall with her, and when she makes him join her anyway, he embarrasses her by destroying a Christmas exhibition. However, Daisy herself ends up coming across as selfish, inconsiderate and unlikable because she made Donald go to the mall against his will even though he needed to relax after a stressful day, and took no responsibility when he snapped due to the barrage of annoyances he faced. The whole fiasco could have been avoided if she had simply listened to him when he said he'd rather stay at home.
    • Goofy in "Christmas Maximus". He's hurt by Max's rejection, but it may be hard to feel sorry for him because he doesn't even seem to try to avoid embarrassing Max in front of his girlfriend.
  • Beowulf (2007) tries to picture Grendel as a childish monster who only attacks Heorot because its noise causes him a great pain. However, he obviously enjoys killing, to the point he falls asleep while mumbling the word in an obsessive way. He is also clearly capable of communication, as he speaks intelligibly to Beowulf at the end of their fight (it's just that, by that point, Beowulf is so fired up that he isn't interested in talking), yet his only way of dealing with the problem from the beginning is wreaking havoc and butchering people. At the end of the day, he is still what many monsters in stories are: a big bully who loves violence.
  • Shark Tale seems to have been shooting for "loveable underdog jerk who learns to not be a jerk" with its protagonist, Oscar. Unfortunately, between Oscar's repellant and annoying personality, his extreme selfishness and insincerity, his total incompetence, his lack of real hardship that isn't directly his fault, and his failure to experience any real consequences, he's neither loveable nor an underdog. As a result, he just comes across as a regular old jerk who does a total of one not-selfish thing at the eleventh hour and is immediately showered with accolades.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: Vanellope. While Ralph is justifiably chastened for his overprotective clingyness, Vanellope's own misdeeds don't draw much condemnation from any of the characters (even those who suffer most from them). To wit: she seems to show little appreciation for Ralph's enormously impressive effort to save Sugar Rush and she decides to abandon her own game for Slaughter Race (putting both at risk if someone thought her presence/absence was due to an error in the game) and never bothers to discuss the move or its ramifications with the people she's leaving behind, such as Ralph and the Sugar Rush racers. Permanently game-jumping was overwhelmingly associated with the villain in Wreck-It Ralph. The original film even treated Ralph game-jumping without considering the consequences negatively, and he did it never intending to be gone permanently, not to mention having a much worse life than Vanellope does in this film.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Death Proof: Three women leave their jet-lagged and sleeping friend behind as "collateral" with a gruff, shotgun-toting redneck on an isolated property so they can go off on their own and recreate driving stunts in a car that he's selling. This is after one of them lies and tells the redneck their friend is a porn star. Word of God is that he raped the friend after they leave. And these three women are the heroines of this particular story. The one thing that can be said about them is that they kick the ass of someone even more vile. Within this group, Abernathy is the one that tells the redneck their friend is a porn actress - happily telling the others she's going to make him think "Lee's gonna blow him".
  • Zachariah Kull, the Big Bad of The Scream Team (a Disney Channel Made-for-TV Movie). He's the vengeful ghost of someone wrongly executed for his wife's alleged murder (it was an accident). However, he makes himself far worse than his Kangaroo Court executioners by absorbing the souls of innocent dead people to make himself powerful enough to go Person of Mass Destruction on his executioners' equally innocent descendants. And his Talking the Monster to Death-induced surrender just makes this worse — he got so caught up in his Revenge Before Reason, he carelessly left his wife Barred from the Afterlife (she refused to pass on without him). And even though he does abandon his vendetta, release said souls, and pass on with his wife at the end, it's still extremely glaring to see him go completely undisciplined by the Powers That Be (the same ones revealed as willing to penalize the titular ghosts who, despite helping stop Zachariah, accidentally exposed The Masquerade in the process).
  • Bastian Balthazar Bux of The NeverEnding Story III infamy. Fantasia depends on him to save them but, unlike the previous two films, he's now an incompetent, stupid jackass who does nothing to find his friends that are lost in his world. He doesn't tell his dad about what's going on, even though he found out about it in the second movie, and acts like a jerk when his parents try to help and when he finds out his sister uses his magic wish medallion, even though it was his fault for leaving it behind in the first place.
  • Peter Parker, in the 2012 reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, is clearly meant to be someone we are supposed to sympathize with given the tragedies in his life and the twists and turns he goes through, but a lot of audiences tend to instead see him come off as an unlikable prick. While he is grieving for half the film following his uncle's death, a lot of audiences don't see that as justifying enough, primarily because of him beating people just for looking like the guy who murdered Uncle Ben, his dumb mistakes like the one with the camera or breaking his promise to George Stacy right after his death. The writers took note of this and tried to rectify his behavior in the sequel by showing him completely racked with guilt over breaking his promise (to the point that he and Gwen break up) and by making him act more like the smart-aleck he's known as. HOWEVER, not only is him feeling suddenly guilty never explained, but also he goes back with Gwen anyways, he still makes a lot of dumb mistakes (like during his conversation with Harry as Spider-Man, because he never considers explaining why it's dangerous to give Harry his blood) and his attempts at being funny often fall flat.
    • Gwen herself suffers from this as well. She's perfectly fine with dating Peter, essentially dishonoring her father's last wish, because who she dates is his call. Her death was supposed to be heartbreaking, until you remember that she ignored Peter's wishes to stay out of harm's way.
    • Harry also hasn't earned much sympathy from fans. He is supposed to be pitiful for audiences since he is terminally ill, got kicked out of his company, and was neglected by his own father, Norman Osborn. However, Harry comes off as an entitled jerk for constantly wallowing in self-pity and demanding that Spider-Man help cure his problem. Not to mention that he crosses his Moral Event Horizon by attacking Peter and killing Gwen.
  • In Avatar:
    • Many viewers saw the Na'vi as arrogant, xenophobic hypocrites who were Not So Different from the human antagonists. For example, they hold themselves above humans because they always mate for life, but when Neytiri finds out Jake's true mission, she leaves him to die.
    • Furthermore, while we don't know who fired the first shot originally, the first time the audience sees Neytiri she's shown planning to shoot Jake with an arrow coated with a neurotoxin, simply for the crime of walking in their territory. Furthermore, the RDA machinery are covered in those same arrows, meaning that the Na'vi are just as guilty of attacking the Humans and are indeed, actively doing so throughout the film.
    • There is supposedly a Deleted Scene that would've revealed that the impetus for the current conflict, the destruction of Grace Augustine's school and the accidental death of Neytiri's unmentioned-in-the-film-proper sister therein, involved both species acting badly to various degrees, getting across some moral ambiguity not present in the final cut.
    • Jake himself, the movie's main hero, spends months dicking around with the Na'vi and enjoying having legs again while feeding intel to Quaritch, instead of warning them about their imminent destruction. Supposedly they won't listen to him until he passes his manhood ritual, but when he finally does pass, does he tell them about the invasion that will be arriving to wipe out their home tomorrow? Nope, he goes and bones the Chief's daughter instead. How It Should Have Ended calls this out, claiming that the ending of the film could have been avoided if he just did his job in the first place and negotiated with them like he was supposed to.
  • In The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, the Kids are obviously intended to be depicted as the innocent, sympathetic victims of prejudice in a story about how people should be judged for their personalities rather than their appearances. Fair enough, except they have almost no personality outside of being incredibly disgusting. Between extremely gross and/or uninteresting pointless shenanigans and frequently breaking the law, they come off more as Humanoid Abominations than The Grotesque.
  • Harry in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when he attacks Snape in the Shrieking Shack. Sure, Snape wasn't the nicest person in the world but Harry had him Blown Across the Room for no apparent reason, just because he tried to take Sirius (who was an escaped convict at the time) and wanted revenge on him (which isn't any different from what Harry wanted for most of the movie). Averted in the books, where Harry attacks Snape because Snape didn't want to listen to them and tried to subject them to a Fate Worse than Death without giving them a chance to explain themselves. Harry tried to convince Snape to at least listen to them, and only after Snape had shown that he had no intention of doing so, Harry attacked him, and had his doubts even after the fact.
  • Ethan from Due Date is supposed to be seen as a sympathetic Manchild who lost his father recently and is desperately trying to mourn his loss. However, he also causes nothing but horrible troubles for Peter, who is desperately trying to get home to his expecting wife. Not to mention that it's later revealed that he stole Peter's wallet in order to force the latter to come with him on the trip.
  • A lot of Christian propaganda films suffer from this, with the main characters often being just as bad as the atheists being set up as the main antagonists of the films by being just as stubborn towards wanting people to believe what they believe, only on the other end of the scale. The films lack any semblance of logic on either side of the debate, and have poor characterizations all around due to obvious straw characters, extremists, and universal refusal of everyone to accept any other person's beliefs.
    • In Rock: It's Your Decision, the main character is meant to come off as a good Christian trying to steer clear from the "sins" of rock and roll and save others from it, but instead he comes off as a closed-minded and bigoted jerkass to anyone who doesn't share the same values and interpretations of Christianity as the protagonist (and then in some cases, as many Christians have no difficulty reconciling their faith and an enjoyment of secular entertainment).
      • At the beginning of the movie he was a normal guy until he found out about all the dangers of rock music, and then he became a walking stereotype.
      • He even turns against his own mother, who brought the youth pastor in to get him to quit rock music in the first place, when he decides that the soap operas she always watches are evil, too.
      • His sermon in the penultimate scene of the film sees him condemn all rock music as 'evil' through various and unsupported claims of such music promoting Hell and the Devil; he also goes out of his way to decry homosexuality for no particular reason through the course of this bigotry-laden rant.
    • God's Not Dead achieves this through its protagonist, Josh. He's a religious college student challenged to debate the existence of God by his Jerkass professor. Despite being painted as a righteous Christian fighting a smug Hollywood Atheist, Josh's actions range from questionable to obnoxious.
      • Breaking up with his longtime girlfriend, Kara. Admittedly, she's painted as clingy and unsupportive, telling Josh it's a bad idea to debate Professor Radisson. Nonetheless, her concerns are justified, as Radisson outright tells Josh that he'll ruin his academic career if he goes forward with the debatenote . We also learn that Kara turned down two other colleges to stay with Josh, and even resisted her mother's disapproval to date him. Josh is unmoved by all of this, dismissing her without a second thought and (it's implied) hooking up with another girl later in the film.
      • For that matter, not only Kara but several characters note that Josh could easily drop the class and take a similar course with a less obnoxious professor. Josh's counterargument is that doing so would "mess up my schedule." Naturally he's portrayed as a principled martyr rather than a kid too lazy to move some classes around. In a similar vein, the whole thing would have been resolved immediately if anybody had told the administration what was going on.
      • YMMV how effective Josh's actual arguments are, but he's just as apt as Professor Radisson to use cheap shots and insults when arguing his points. The worst comes when Radisson confides in Josh that a personal tragedy drove him away from religion. Josh uses this in their final debate, browbeating Radisson with an Armor-Piercing Question of why he hates God, driving Radisson into an anguished Motive Rant in front of the whole class. The movie treats this as a brilliant move on Josh's part, rather than a low blow exploiting Radisson's past to discredit his argument.
    • A Matter of Faith:
      • The Bible-believing creationist father, Stephen, is presented as the usual Christian Hero fighting against the evils of "The Myth of Evolution" by protesting its teaching in his daughter's college. However, he goes behind his daughter's back to question her biology teacher, something she is incredibly embarrassed by, tries to force his belief into a class that has nothing to do with it, and practically guilt trips his own daughter into fully accepting his beliefs again based on feelings rather than facts.
      • The film attempts to portray the actions of the creationist characters as exposing the pro-evolution biology teacher of having an agenda of corrupting students away from God; however, through the film, it's clear that he's just doing his job of teaching the theory of evolution as accepted by the scientific community, and it comes off instead as them trying to force their beliefs into the public education system because someone has the gall to believe differently from them.
    • In God's Not Dead 2, the main protagonist mentions Jesus by name when answering a student's history-related question and another student reports her, setting up the main plot of the film. Not only does the fact that the circumstances in which she came to be in court afterwards have no basis in reality, as she was answering a question rather than preaching her beliefs, she later won't back down from wanting to be able to preach her beliefs in a public school classroom, despite this not only being both illegal and unethical, but actually has grounds for dismissal of a teacher.
    • In Old Fashioned, the protagonist supposed to be a devout Christian man with strong values regarding dating, however during the movie he becomes increasingly unlikable:
      • He refuses to go inside his tenant's apartment to fix her appliances while she is still there, giving the reason that "he will not be alone with a woman who's not his wife", and instead makes her wait outside sometimes in middle of the night.
      • Several other times his supposedly sweet and principled actions come across as creepy and unsettling, like when his tenant makes it clear that she's interested in him, and the first thing he does is taking her to a pastor to discuss marriage.
      • He also makes a scene on one of his friend's bachelor party by chasing away the stripper, the stripper and her manager are reasonably pissed with him. Never mind that it wasn't his own party and he had no right to decide what goes in it.
  • In Star Trek: Insurrection, the Ba'ku were supposed to come off as innocent victims of an under-the-table Federation and the devious Son'a (who are actually exiled Ba'ku), but instead, they came off as selfish/self-righteous pricks who won't share (or tolerate anyone of their own who wants to share) their planet's amazing healing powers, leaving the rest of the galaxy to die of ailments they themselves easily overcame. There's only a few hundred of them, so the vast majority of the planet is uninhabited. It's worth noting that Picard's argument that moving them violated the Prime Directive doesn't even hold up, since they were an non-indigenous group of Luddites, so they had just as valid a claim to the planet as the Federation colonists.
    • It certainly doesn't help that the movie, despite clearly treating their relocation as the Trail of Tears in space, doesn't at all play up the imagery of that event. On the contrary, the Ba'ku look more like the 1800s middle-class all-white individuals responsible for the Trail in the first place. Roger Ebert described them as a "gated community." Making it stand out even more an episode of the series had followed a very similar plot with actual Native American-descended colonists who made the comparison explicit, for stakes that amounted to nothing but a political technicality... and Picard took the other side.
  • In Unstoppable, main character Will Colson's wife has a restraining order against him, keeping him from being able to see his son. The reason for the restraining order is because he suspected his wife was cheating on him, then he got upset when she wouldn't submit to his spot check of her cell phone, grabbed her violently, pulled a gun on a police officer as well as a friend of his because he suspected he's sleeping with his wife, and she turned out to not even be cheating on him. Because he's one of the heroes of the movie, we're meant to sympathize with him and hope that he can get back together with his wife, despite the fact that he acted exactly as cartoonishly-evil as the villainous male lead of any given Lifetime Movie of the Week.
  • Hannah Montana: The Movie has both Hannah/Miley and her boyfriend, Travis. Miley, for not really trying to stay away from her Hannah persona (that was the whole purpose of her family heading out to Tennessee in the first place), and Travis for being too stupid to recognize her up-close. It took Miley accidentally removing her wig in front of him for him to put two and two together.
    • The townspeople, too. They have money problems, and what do they do? They reject the construction of a mall, something that could help them get out of their debt by increasing tourism. Not to mention, it was going to be built in a large, empty field they weren't using, anyway. Then, the townspeople state that, after she reveals herself on stage to them by pulling her wig off and pouring her heart out to them, they want Miley to put her wig back on and keep being Hannah, despite part of the movie's plot revolving around Miley questioning whether continuing to be Hannah is still a good idea and finally pulling the trigger to unmask in front of a large crowd. They come off more as selfish assholes rather than encouraging enthusiasts for wanting Miley to keep suffering the constant struggle she's been having ever since they started the Hannah identity.
  • Red Dawn attempts to pull a not so different moment with three Soviet soldiers by showing them fooling around before being ambushed and executed by the Wolverines. However, the rest of the film and its backstory portrays the USSR and its troops as monsters who nuked America and China unprovoked, and proceeded to invade them and slaughter their civilians (including their children) for the evulz. Even if one states that they were either drafted or volunteered before they knew what they'd be doing and said they were Just Following Orders, (a defense that famously didn't save Eichmann), A. The Geneva Convention obligates them to disobey orders that would constitute war crimes, including using illegal weapons, perfidy, killing civilians, and waging wars of aggression, and B. They show absolutely no remorse for their or their comrades actions. Much of said fooling around consists of mocking America and its culture, as opposed to the Wolverines, who were later deeply disturbed by killing the enemy combatants.
  • Griffin from Red Zone Cuba was supposedly meant to be seen as a mostly decent person who was down on his luck and held back by a Hair-Trigger Temper, and what happens to him at the end of the movie was supposed to be tragic and thought-provoking. Unfortunately, all sympathy for him is lost by the time he rapes a blind girl and murders her father, making the ending seem more like justice being done than anything else.
  • The portrayal of Lyndon Johnson in Selma, judging by reactions from some critics and historians. The filmmakers want to show Johnson as a complex figure who supports Civil Rights, but a) views it as part of a larger agenda, and b) is restrained by political realities - more or less Truth in Television. But since virtually every scene featuring Johnson shows him trying to block or undermine Martin Luther King's actions, he becomes the film's de facto antagonist; many viewers consider his portrayal bordering on Historical Villain Upgrade.
  • David and Mia, the main characters of Evil Dead (2013), are given an elaborate and tragic backstory (which is relayed all at once through dialogue even though they obviously both know the details) clearly meant to make them sympathetic, but the rest of the movie never really succeeds at showing either of them, or any of their friends for that matter, in a particularly positive light. Even though these people are all supposedly friends, they treat each other distantly at best or hostilely at worst; for example Mia is shown to be totally incapable of overcoming her heroin addiction despite constantly assuring everyone else that she can, and they criticizes her for it even though their over-the-top method of "helping" her is incredibly unhealthy and harmful, making it impossible to even figure out who's really to blame out of these assholes.
  • DC Extended Universe
    • Jonathan Kent's stiff and uncompromising demand in Man of Steel for Clark to suppress his abilities goes so far as for him to suggest his son should have let a busload of children drown rather than out himself by saving them. It's obvious that he wants to protect Clark and let him have a normal childhood, but he never even attempts to explain why he believes letting innocent kids die was the better choice. He then refuses rescue and forces Clark to watch as he's killed by a tornado, because safeguarding his son's anonymity is apparently more important than not leaving him traumatized and fatherless. The idea seems to be partially ripped from Superman: Birthright, where Pa Kent is similarly (though nowhere near as destructively) apprehensive about his son's heritage - the difference being, that version ultimately admits he's acting stupid and lashing out at something he can't control, and apologizes for it.
    • Clark Kent's morose attitude becomes more difficult to swallow following the release of SHAZAM! (2019). Although both Billy Batson and Clark Kent are rather emotionally distant and dour, Clark at least has a loving family and affections of a nice girl whereas Billy is a foster teen who jumped around between different homes and was abandoned as a toddler by his deadbeat mom. Furthermore, unlike Clark, Billy actually matures into an all-loving idealistic hero in his own origin movie. Subsequently, many fans are less accepting of Clark's mopey, dreary outlook given how he didn't have the Freudian Excuse or personal growth of other less fortunate heroes.
  • In The Birth of a Nation, Austin Stoneman's horrified reaction to Silas wanting to marry his daughter is intended to be an Even Evil Has Standards moment, but to modern audiences it actually makes him seem worse by revealing him to be a gigantic hypocrite.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park:
    • The "heroes" become a lot less heroic when you realize that they release the dinosaurs from their perfectly secure containers and cause them to go on the rampage that causes all the deaths on the island. Their actions also cause the corrupt corporation that owned the dinosaurs to bring a T. Rex to San Diego which causes even more death and destruction. So the heroes cause every death in the film with the highest body count in the series and never get punished for this. The motives for all this are that the dinosaurs should be allowed to live in their natural environments which a) do not exist any more and b) is in direct opposition to the moral of the first film and the books both films are based on. Dr. Sarah Harding being made into a Composite Character with Dr. Richard Levine makes her a standout example as the latter described as having "a world-wide reputation for being a pain in the ass" and lacking any idea of consequences or any training in fieldwork as he preferred to study museum samples. His poor traits makes the movie version of Sarah much harder to sympathize with.
    • John Hammond is supposed to come across as a benevolent old man who just has the dinosaurs' best interests at heart, but it's pointed out within the film that he's knowingly bankrupting a global conglomerate which no doubt employs thousands of people to do so, for a problem Hammond himself created in the first place because of his pride. Also, given the implications that he's in poor health, his sudden conversion to environmentalism seems more like a rather selfish deathbed confession than a real act of altruism.
  • Sean from the 1996 Alaska being upset over his mom's death gives him a reason to feel sorry for him. But the way he takes his anger out on everyone and his overall, unpleasant and nasty personality ends up making him more of a whiny Jerkass instead. Even going as far as to wishing his own dad had died instead of his mom!
  • In the movie Trainwreck, the main character, Amy, and her sister go and visit their Dad in a care home to tell him that Kim is pregnant. He's happy about the news and says he's excited to finally have a grandkid. Kim gets offended and says he's forgetting her step-son, Alistair. He says he cares about the boy and worries about him getting bullied but he's not, technically, a blood-relative. Kim gets so offended she yells at him and storms out, and because he was an Alcoholic Parent to Amy and Kim when they were kids, we're obviously meant to sympathize with her. But the thing is, the Dad is right in this situation and considering Kim wanted to put him in the worst care home she could find and throws out his possessions when she's sorting through them with Amy, it makes her look incredibly petty and looking for an excuse to be pissed off at him.
  • Shelby and the Kappa Nu sisters in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. The sequel takes a more sympathetic stance on them partying and disrupting the Radners' lives than it did with Teddy and his frat brothers in the original. However, the problems with it are 1) they use Straw Feminist arguments to rationalize their actions and never get called out on it, 2) the only things the Radners actually did to them was politely request they keep the partying down until they can officially sell their house in 30 days and call their parents when they refused, and 3) the things they do to the Radners are far more malicious (such as intentionally trying to break up the Radners' marriage and stealing their possessions to sell to pay for house rent). It's somewhat made up for by them buying the Radners' home from them, therefore being the solution to the problem they caused in the first place, however this still means that they got off without any real punishment or ever really acknowledging that what they were doing was wrong.
  • TRON: Legacy: Flynn lost a lot of sympathy in the fanbase once they checked out the Expanded Universe; he is something of a jerk to his friends and family, taking their devotion for granted, lies to everyone (including his wife!) about what he's up to, blows off multiple warnings about The Grid's instability, the Program/Iso tensions, Clu's ambition, etc. He was also being something of a Jackass User, not healing Dyson (which caused Dyson to sign on as of Clu's lieutenants during the coup). Top it off with deciding to self-imprison himself in the Outlands and devote everything to protecting Quorra while the Programs are left to Clu's dubious mercy, justifying it with a throwaway line about how resisting Clu would somehow make him "stronger" when Clu already has full run of The Grid.
  • The Muppets (with the exceptions of Kermit, Animal, and Walter) in Muppets Most Wanted. They spend much of the film behaving like selfish jerks, and also take a massive level in dumbass — Constantine manages to fool them into believing that he is Kermit, despite the fact that he doesn't act nor sound anything like Kermitnote . While Kermit does call out Walter and Fozzie for not noticing that he'd had his identity stolen, in the end, he forgives them all rather quickly. It doesn't help that Walter is the only one who apologizes to Kermit — Fozzie's telling Nadya that she'll have to take him to the gulag with Kermit is more out of loyalty than remorse, and while Piggy, Rowlf, Gonzo and Scooter admit that they were wrong, they still end up coming across as The Unapologetic.
  • The Wizard of Oz:
    • It contains one of the most infamous examples in film. The movie combined two witches — the Good Witch of the North and Glinda the Good Witch of the South — into one character. This creates an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole where Glinda gives Dorothy the red slippers but doesn't tell her how they work, causing her to go on a journey and nearly die just for Glinda to tell her later. This has caused generations of viewers to consider Glinda a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing or wonder if Glinda was really the villain and that she sent a random child on a wild goose chase to kill her enemy. More than a few jokes have been made about this, such as the Mad TV "alternate ending" sketch where Dorothy calls out Glinda.
    • The title character himself also qualifies. As written, the Wizard is supposed to be a loving and caring grandfatherly character who doesn't want people to find out he's really a humbug. However, he sends a little girl and her companions to kill arguably the most dangerous person in Oz (who has already tried to kill Dorothy and her companions several times) and bring back the witch's broom as proof... pretty much unarmed against the impenetrable castle and the Witch's loyal army of flying monkeys. His claims of being "a good man but a really bad wizard" come off as less apologetic for being unable to help and more trying to justify his own actions. note 
  • The alien in Super 8. We're instructed by the script to feel sorry for the way it was treated by the military and root for it to return home, just like E.T., even when it starts lashing out and killing several people who had absolutely nothing to do with its mistreatment and posed no threat to it, very much unlike E.T. That it's intelligent enough for the kids to reason with suggests it didn't kill innocent people due to panicked self-preservation, but out of revenge, which makes the ending seem like a miscarriage of justice to many viewers, instead of the "D'aww!" moment it was meant to be.
  • In The Kid (2000), we are supposed to feel sorry for Russ's father for trying and failing to get Russ to spend time with his family, and view Russ as a callous jerk for constantly blowing him off. But later in the movie, it's revealed that when Russ was younger, his father took his anger out on his son after Russ was sent home from school for fighting some bullies. Not only did Russ's dad blame him for the incident, but he also accused the boy of making his mother die faster (she had cancer), and then physically shakes him and rubs his eyes so hard that Russ is left with an involuntary eye twitch well into adulthood, along with major emotional suppression. Knowing about this incident (as well as realizing that Russ had to be raised by his dad after his mom died), it's no wonder Russ wants nothing to do with the man.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming: Michelle is supposed to be seen as a lovable Deadpan Snarker Hollywood Nerd that the audience is supposed to sympathize with because she doesn't have any friends. However, most of her screentime consists of her belittling and mocking people with a haughty and condescending attitude for no reason (especially considering that all other the students, aside from Flash, are pretty nice people who haven't done anything to deserve it), so it's pretty understandable why she doesn't have any.
  • Star Wars
    • Anakin Skywalker got a lot of this in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, especially the latter two. He's meant to be a basically decent guy who's grappling with a dark side until Palpatine pushes him over, but he really doesn't need a lot of prompting to do so, and even on his own terms, he seems like kind of a maladjusted jerk. In particular, his relationship with Padme is meant to be awkward but earnest and loving, but it's so badly written that he comes off as a creep lusting over someone he hasn't seen in ten years instead.
    • Padme's tragic, doomed romance with Anakin doesn't really work out when at no point did the film furnish a reason (besides maybe good looks) for her to be attracted to him. He's surly, immature, violent, insubordinate, vaguely fascistic, and sworn to not fall in love, and she's known him for about a week. She has every reason in the world to not get secretly married to him, which makes her come across as—depending on who you ask—a suicidally vapid idiot, an utterly passive abuse victim, or just a gigantic hypocrite for doing exactly that.
    • The entire Jedi Order gets this in the prequel trilogy. They're meant to be the Big Good organization, a group of Lawful Good magic knights, but possessed of the Fatal Flaw of being too bound up by centuries-old dogma to see something terrible is about to happen until it's tragically too late to prevent it. Unfortunately, their questionable recruiting tactics (conscripting from the cradle, cutting them off from all family ties or any close emotional tie other than Master and Padawan), taking command of an age-accelerated slave army of clones, and their grandmaster (Yoda) giving some astonishingly tone-deaf advice to a terrified Anakin made them look like a bunch of Church Militant jackasses instead, which is even lampshaded by Luke in The Last Jedi.
    • The Old Republic as whole, really. They are meant to be presented as a flawed but mostly benevolent democracy tragically subverted from the inside by darker forces. However, they're shown to be extremely corrupt, enough so that mega-corps get senate seats. Despite apparently having sky high taxes, they don't have a functional military at the start of the series and seem perfectly happy to let injustices like slavery go unpunished outside and even sometimes inside their borders, despite being the galaxy's only superpower. It's not like it's hard to make a military in this setting; Palpatine makes two from scratch. They're just that unwilling to get blood on their hands. And it doesn't help at all that the enemy they are fighting isn't really that much more evil than them; the opening crawl of Episode III even states it outright. It leaves the "tragic fall" of the Old Republic to fall kind of flat, as you don't get the sense that they were doing a much better job of running the galaxy than the Empire. At least the Empire's currency worked.
    • The Last Jedi:
      • Luke considered murdering his nephew Ben in his sleep because he sensed darkness within him, and despite regretting and not going through with it, it still pushed Kylo Ren to the dark side, killing most of his Jedi pupils and several others defecting to his side. But rather than helping to stop Ren or trying to turn him back like he succeeded with Vader, Luke exiles himself for six years, leaving the galaxy to fend for itself without The Hero to help them, causing countless innocents to die. Leia's been through a much worse Trauma Conga Line (seeing her entire planet destroyed at 19, breaking up with her husband, watching her own son become a monster, etc), but she never deviates from her duty.
      • Admiral Holdo is introduced giving a rather bland and weak speech that fails to motivate her troops and then she dismisses Poe's concerns seemingly out of an effort to teach him some humility, which might seem reasonable given they don't know how they're being tracked, but still doesn't exactly make her seem like a character the audience is meant to root for. The reveal of her plan (and that Leia supported it) doesn't help much, since it reveals that Poe would have gone along with it had she only trusted him and saved the lectures for a less critical moment and her refusal to answer Poe's valid observation about the transports just seemed spiteful. Even fans who side with her decision still dislike how she failed to properly discipline Poe for his recklessness; had she locked Poe in the brig, inform the everyone else about her plans or punish Poe, then he wouldn't have been able to garner support to stage a mutiny. Subsequently, her sacrifice is visually stunning, but the story behind it feels somewhat hollow as she only had to make it because she failed to keep Poe in line.
  • The male protagonist, Jim Preston, of Passengers. He is a cryogenically preserved passenger on a spaceship that is on a centuries-long mission to colonize another solar system, but he is accidentally awakened decades too early. To avoid going insane from loneliness, he deliberately unfreezes an attractive female passenger, Aurora Lane, and starts a relationship with her... all the while lying to her that her awakening was also accidental. He's meant to be seen as a good person who did a bad thing out of desperation and has to make up for it; reviewers and audiences overwhelmingly saw him as a pathetic douchebag who ruined a complete innocent's life out of selfishness and lust.
    • On the flip-side of the coin, Aurora herself can come off like this to a lesser extent. She is intended to be a tragic figure, but it's just as easy to see her as a spoiled Rich Bitch making a mockery of the efforts of the real colonists as she takes a 250 year long luxury vacation secure in the idea that she's effectively risking nothing, knowing that her likely safely-invested wealth will be waiting for her back on Earth.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, the Vuvalini ("Many Mothers"). The audience is clearly meant to sympathize with them, as their knowledge of the Old World and combat proficiency makes them valuable allies for Furiosa, Max and the Wives. They are also introduced via a ruthless Honey Trap, they loathe men so much that they'll shoot them without even thinking (one of the mothers readies her weapon as soon as she sees Max and Nux step out of the War Rig before Furiosa calms her down), they imply that a Child by Rape would be less "ugly" if it were a girl and one of them outright states that she's killed every person outside her group that she's met in the wasteland.
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem has Dallas Howard. Already at the beginning of the film it turns out that he is a criminal who has just been released from prison (presumably because of an armed robbery). As soon as he meets his younger brother, he interferes in his affairs, and determines him. Later, when the xenomorphs attack the city, he gathers a group of survivors who want to save themselves from xenomorphs. But instead of trying to leave the city, he takes her to a hospital because he prefers to flee from there by helicopter. Several members of the group are killed by xenomorphs, and Dallas Howard is therefore complicit in these deaths. One member of the group criticizes Dallas' plan, which puts them all in jeopardy except for the daughter of his (soonly) girlfriend, and Dallas shouts at the man, though he has made only a sound argument. Finally, a Predator arrives there, who has traveled to Earth to kill xenomorphs (admittedly, he has also killed some humans, but his real mission was to destroy the xenomorphs before they can spread all over the Earth), and Dallas steals the laser weapon as the Predator gets into a duel with the Predalien. If the military had not bombed the city, Dallas would have been to blame for the xenomorphs spreading. He should probably be a tough, edgy anti-hero, but he's not much more than a designated hero.
  • In Snow Falling on Cedars you can see Hatsue Imada. She is an American Japanese girl who falls in love with the American boy Ismael Chambers. The two become lovers, but have to keep the relationship secret, because at that time Japanese and Americans have racial reservations about each other. When the relationship between the two eventually becomes known, Hatsue leaves Ishmael immediately, "submits" to her family, and marries a Japanese man whom her family has chosen for her. Exactly at the time when Ishmael was injured in the war and lost an arm. A few years later, they see each other again because he is involved in a murder case. Hatsue's husband, Kazuo Miyamoto, is suspected of murdering an American fisherman. And when Ishmael sees Hatsue and greets her, she immediately tells him to leave. During the plot of the film, Ishmael tries to find evidence that Hatsue's husband is innocent. And although Ishmael helps her, Hatsue mistreats him. He tells her several times how much he loves her, but she rejects him again and again. In one scene, he touches her and she wriggles out of his touch as if he were a stranger who wants to do something bad to her (you can also see in this scene that this gesture has hurt Ishmael's feelings). Finally, he at least asks her for one final hug, but Hatsue also denies him, and she knows she is hurting his feelings. Only at the very end of the film, when her husband is acquitted by Ishmael's help, she embraces him. Still, she does not seem to think it was wrong for her to treat him so badly.
    • Her husband also qualifies for it. Kazuo marries her, although it is a forced marriage for Hatsue (although it can be speculated that he did not know she was forced to marry him, by her family). Already at the beginning of the film, he wants to buy a property, and the wife whose husband owns the property is threatened and intimidated by him. Later, when he meets her husband, he starts a business, but Kazuo is anything but polite to him. Later, when he is killed, Kazuo also says that he would have liked to kill him (even if he finally proves he did not).
    • The film is likely to show that Japanese living in the US at that time suffered racial reservations from the Americans. However, Hatsue and Kazuo are such jerks that many viewers wonder why they should feel sorry for them.
  • In Pitch Perfect
    • We're meant to feel sorry for Jesse when Becca yells at him for constantly butting into her business and tells him to leave her alone, but Jesse has been nothing more than an annoying Dogged Nice Guy for the entire movie, criticising Becca's taste in clothes (telling her she'd be beautiful if only she took our her ear spike), constantly badgering her when she makes it clear she's not interested in him and whining when she doesn't share his hobby of watching movies.
    • Not like Becca is much better. She comes off as an ungrateful brat to her father for complaining about having to go to college instead of just going to L.A. to start a career (neither of which come off as realistic, as her father is paying her college for her, therefore she won't have student loans and the idea of starting a career as a DJ in L.A. doesn't sound realistic to college students) and she's unpleasant to everyone she meets, regardless of whether they deserve or not.
  • Pam in Meet the Parents. As soon as the relationship started to get serious, she should've told Greg to forget about marriage because of the unlikelihood of her father ever giving his blessing. She also should've told him that in the unlikely event that Jack did give his blessing, he would spend the rest of his life treating Greg like garbage.
  • Gavin from The Ledge. Gavin basically uses the argument against religion as a means to score with Shana and screw up her marriage. Given the "point" of the movie is that atheists can be good people without religion, his enormous selfishness and the petty reasons behind pursuing a married woman makes it a massive Broken Aesop.
  • Mean Girls: Janis. She is just as manipulative as Regina (if not more so), encouraging Cady to make friends with the Plastics (and sabotage them) in the first place, then taunting her by revealing her manipulations in front of the entire school (throwing Cady under the bus in the process), and gets cheered for it. This, combined with her Hollywood Homely appearance, has only fueled some fans' theories that Janis is herself a former Alpha Bitch.
  • The mother Isabelle from the Lifetime Movie of the Week Amy & Isabelle. Her distance from her daughter and judgmental attitude is justified by having an affair with an older man in her teen years and getting pregnant as a result. However when Amy has an affair with her teacher, Isabelle attacks her in a fit of rage and cuts off all her daughter's hair. Following Amy getting abused by another authority figure, many found Isabelle's abuse to be just as awful as the teacher's and it was impossible to sympathise with her afterwards.
  • The protagonists of Don't Breathe. No matter what Freudian Excuses they give them and no matter how repulsively villainous they make the blind antagonist it's just nearly impossible to sympathize with a trio who kick the movie off with such a Kick the Dog move as to decide to break into the home of a blind war veteran to steal the cash settlement he received when his daughter was killed in a car accident. Especially Rocky, who repeatedly refuses to call the cops simply because she doesn't want to lose the cash she's stolen which gets Alex killed and allows the Blind Man to survive the events of the film.
  • While a great majority of his characters are sympathetic (intentionally or otherwise), several others in Tyler Perry's films come off as this:
    • Dr. Patricia Agnew in Why Did I Get Married and its sequel. She was initially seen as a Stepford Smiler who used her intelligence and training to offer valuable advice on how to fix her friends' marriages and to hide the pain of her being the indirect cause of her son's death in a car crash, as she didn't strap him in properly. Unfortunately, all of this knowledge did nothing to help her own marriage which ended due to her cold, analytical personality and her greed and misguided attempt at revenge against her ex-husband, Gavin, caused him to be killed in a car crash himself after she ran him off of his job.
    • Byron from Madea's Big Happy Family. Although he goes through lots of hardship in the film (a past jail sentence for drugs, said sentence preventing him from getting a legitimate job, being caught between a pair of terrible women and finding out two heartbreaking secrets; that both his mother is dying and that his real mother was his older sister, who had conceived him through rape), this still does nothing to quell his lack of any drive to do better for himself, to properly provide for his young son or the admission that he likes being in the middle of a love triangle with both women, in spite of the fact one is a Gold Digger and the other is the baby's mother from Hell.
    • Madea herself, despite being the protagonist of many of his films, comes off as this due to her abrasive personality and not being afraid to blatantly and repeatedly break the law. Madea Goes to Jail showcases that she has a criminal record dating back to childhood and the last straw (her dumping an obnoxious lady's car out of the space that she wanted) sent her to prison for a few years. When word got out, several (but not all) people were in support of her being released even though she really didn't deserve it and didn't learn anything from it.

Example of: