Okay, I have to start off by stating that while I completely get why some folks don't like character creation, myself and several of the folks I play with do not share this affliction. Quite the opposite. One of my buddies and I just roll characters as a hobby. I often try to recreate various heroes of film and comics in systems not designed for them - like the time I made the Avengers and the JLA in 4th ed DnD. In the current game I'm playing in my character has gone through 3 iterations trying to get the right feel for how I wanted him to play from both a roleplaying and mechanical standpoint. (With GM's approval, of course, and we're only 1 session in so it's not a big reroll in the middle of the campaign)
But while for me it's fun to take a concept and look through the tomes of rules to try and find the right class combinations and feats to put something together that's cool and interesting I can absolutely see why some people would find it daunting, tedious, or not fun at all.
Now, the situation you've proposed with the GM plopping books down and doing a group chargen is both the most difficult, I find, and yet sometimes the most rewarding. It's hard because you're asking the group to spend at least an hour or more, which will significantly cut into playtime that evening if not absorb it completely, doing something that your group seems to not like. That's just not a good starting point. The audience is already set against you. However, unlike doing solo chargen I think the tools to make it more palatable are more readily at your disposal in this situation because you have people together who want to have a good time.
My most successful group chargens are always the ones where we get engaged in the characters themselves and their interactions with the other characters. The mechanics inform some decisions we make but for the most part we bullshit and make cockeyed plans for the things we want to do. Not every roleplayer I've ever met likes to make characters, most but not all like to talk about who their character is, but every single one I've run into loves to talk about the things their character does so come at it from that angel. Don't start them off as lvl 1 chumps who haven't done anything worth mentioning and are just numbers on a paper, give them an epic tale of how they got to that tavern and forged relationships with their comrades or that busty bar wench and/or how they live in fear of that busty bar wench's father. Maybe get really into it and do little mini-adventures with each, like a vingnette that shows who they are or why they do what they do.
Of course, this requires you have some numbers down on your paper to add to your dice rolls. For my suggestion of coming at it from the story angle I recommend point buy systems for most games. I say this simply because it helps prevent a randomly shit character and the holy-god-damn awesome character who outshines everyone else. It's an even playing field and it'll let you just build they character you want with no muss or fuss. Some systems, however, should always be done randomly. Cthulhu is a prime example of this because it doesn't matter if your guy is amazing or utter crap because he's just going to go insane and die anyways. The dice are less tied to your success and more to fleshing out this soon to be soul-sucked husk.
Once you've got your basic stats there's no easy way to get through what usually comes after: Skill lists, math, feats, and all that. That's the main slog. But try and focus on the character and story, keep the group engaged in telling the tale to each other and recording it on their sheet. Saying "I guess I'll put 4 points in acrobatics because I want to be able to tumble" is less exciting than "so in high school my guy was picked on because he was so small and was on the gymnastics team, but he got really good at squeezing himself into lockers where he recorded embarrassing conversations and used it to blackmail the quarterback."
There are two alternatives based on this same approach as well. The first is you find a weirdo like me who loves to do chargen. You sit everyone down and have the fun talk about who they are, what they do, and such. Get everybody to write notes. Then give those notes to the weirdo and tell him to have it all done in a week. Sometimes I wish my groups would let me do this. We need either a cleric or an arcane caster to fill out our current party and I have several ideas for really cool builds that I'd want the 4th player to try. Hell, if your group is ever really bummed about it send me a line and if I'm not busy and know the system I'd be happy to help out.
The second is to just leave chargen at that fun story telling stage by using a system like HeroQuest or... I'm blanking on the name of it but it's another super simple, narrative driven system where you quite literally just write down on a paper stuff your character does, assign some very simple numbers to it, and you're done. Even with my love of chargen I adore HeroQuest because it quite simply is all about the story and it works so smoothly.
So those are my thoughts. I think they might help but they're purely supposition because of inexperience with the problem so if they make things worse I do apologize.