Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (2014)
I am a fan of the smart people who are making lots of money off their mutant cat. You do you, and put your kids through school. Congrats. I’m proud of my maturity that I can say that, even after watching this…. thing.
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever is “of the moment” in the worst possible way. The filmmakers plainly knew that not a single person would care about this movie in six months, and so they stuffed it full of in-jokes and winking, nodding references to the meme, internet culture, and the movie’s own stupidity. I’m not talking subtle, here; I’m talking the cat asking the camera “Why are you still watching?”
The problem is that constantly calling out the fact that the movie is stupid doesn’t actually A) make it somehow not stupid or B) absolve the filmmakers of their responsibility to make a not-stupid thing. It’s like how prefacing a sentence with “I don’t want to sound racist, but” doesn’t have any effect on the racist-quotient of whatever you say next, just on how frustrated people are going to be when they call you on it. Because by saying that, you prove you clearly know better.
But on to the plot, such as it is.
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever stars the dang cat, as voiced by Aubrey Plaza, as well as various stunt cats and cat puppets. Plaza is a funny person. She is not funny in this. It also stars a little girl, Chrystal, who is surprisingly not completely terrible. Oh my god. I just looked up the actress playing Chrystal, and she’s making her name playing little girls in horror movies. She’s better than this.
Anyway, Chrystal is sad because despite obviously being a little miss sunshine who has made friends with all the misfits who work at the mall, some stereotypical mean girls who flew in from some other movie won’t be her friends. O...kay?
Chrystal’s mom works at the mall, and her mom’s potential boyfriend, and a bunch of people who seem like they might be important but aren’t, and a bumbling security guard, and the uptight but nice guy who owns the pet store. Grumpy Cat lives at the pet store, because no one will adopt her, because they apparently don’t want thousands of dollars in plush toy royalties. Chrystal hangs out at the pet store because of the aforementioned friendlessness. The pet store guy for some reason has acquired a million-dollar dog who he plans to sell to keep his struggling business afloat.
All the animals have annoying voices that only the audience can hear, naturally. And there’s no reason for it, because they’re just one-note stereotypes that are not funny, and do nothing to move the plot along.
Anywho, we also meet a pair of low-intelligence obviously-in-the-closet guys in a rock band, whose purpose in the movie I was honestly confused about for some time. I really thought maybe Crystal’s love for animals would help them take pride in themselves and be open about their love. No such luck.
Seriously though, that subtext was intended by somebody.
To make a REALLY LONG story short, the wannabe-rockers decide to steal the dog to finance their struggling music careers. Chrystal makes a wish on a Christmas coin given to her by a substitute mall Santa to find a friend, and then she can hear Grumpy Cat. Except when Grumpy Cat is breaking the fourth wall; she can only hear that some of the time. It never stops being weird that actual humans address this feline as “Grumpy Cat”, as if that were a perfectly normal name for a cat.
Rockers and girl and dog and cat all end up at the mall, at which point I smacked myself in the forehead and said, “Ohhhh, it’s trying to be Home Alone!” Chrystal steals the rockers’ car keys, they chase each other all over the mall, there’s some paintball action, the security guard is in on it, and Chrystal “borrows” a display car to finally stop them from getting away. Her mom gets a date, she gets a cat, pet store guy gets to keep his shop.
There’s a few more points we need to mention, though. In a couple of places, the movie gets dark. Like, kinda weirdly dark. There’s a fantasy sequence about the guy losing the pet shop, in which (thankfully, puppet-version) Grumpy Cat is PUT TO SLEEP at the end. And there’s a joke at the Lifetime channel’s expense at the end of the movie. Chrystal’s mom asks her (paraphrasing) “They didn’t… do... anything to you, right?” ‘They’ being the adult men her young daughter was running from all night. Grumpy Cat quips: “That’s a different kind of Lifetime movie.” We weren’t sure whether to be impressed or horrified.
Also, the DVD extras are far funnier than the movie, which (in case it isn’t clear yet) fell flat in every dimension it would be possible to fall flat in. One of them made us think that the whole thing would have been better without the voices, if the cat’s lines had just been superimposed on the screen.
There. Now you’ve watched 2 minutes that are about 100 times funnier than the movie. You’re welcome.