I do not understand the appeal of “Grumpy Cat”. Call me a curmudgeon, but the appeal of a feline with an everlasting frown doesn’t speak to me. But you people seem to dig her enough that this cat(‘s handlers) have amassed a $100M multimedia empire. “Grumpy Cat” has starred in a cereal commercial, appeared on Good Morning America, Today, Anderson Live, American Idol, was a guest at South by Southwest, and was even the “guest host” of WWE Monday Night Raw. If that’s not enough Grumpy Cat for you, you can also buy a cavalcade of plushies, t-shirts, coffee mugs, calendars, temporary tattoos, two books, and Grumppuccino premium coffee, because fuck you.
It seems that the cat’s owner and manager (yes, the cat has a manager) have yet to encounter a cash grab that they didn’t wholeheartedly endorse. This explains Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, a film so generically awful that I’m having a hard time finding anything to actually say about it.
In Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, Tardar Sauce (because “Grumpy Cat” is her slave name) lives in a shopping mall pet shop, which also happens to be the regular hangout spot of generic ostracised socially awkward pre-teen, Chrystal. The pet shop owes a shit ton of money to… somebody. Not to worry, though, since the owner plans to save the store by selling their prized pooch for a cool $1,000,000. However, after a couple of wannabe musicians learn about the dog’s price tag they concoct a plan to kidnap the animal and sell it for themselves. It falls on Grumpy Cat and her new friend Chrystal, who can understand Grumpy Cat’s telepathic monologuing thanks to a shoehorned plot point involving a magical mall Santa and a gold coin, to prevent the dog-nappers from taking the prized beast and saving Christmas for everybody.
Also, there’s a subplot about a mall Santa elf trying to sleep with Chrystal’s mom. They go to a typical middle-America Christmas party. They wind up kissing. It’s allegedly romantic.
You’ve probably figured out by now that this flick is pretty garbage, but nothing can prepare you for just how underwhelming the whole thing is. As a movie, it fails. As a bad movie, it bores. It breaks the first rule of b-movie badness by having Grumpy Cat, voiced by an apathetic Aubrey Plaza, opine at length about the poor quality of the film. With every commercial break she has some half-hearted quip about how important the advertisers are while highlighting all the ways that this film is a blatant cash grab, as though the filmmakers were letting us in on a “joke” that was never actually told.
When the film isn’t trying to give the wink and nudge treatment to its audience, the pacing and tone shift so wildly, and so drastically, that it’s actually kind of uncomfortable. Case in point: there is a scene about mid-way through the movie where Chrystal, aided by the voice in her head that she attributes to the cat, shoots the would-be robbers, repeatedly, in the ass with a paintball gun. It’s classic Home Alone-level hijinks that’s suited for the whole family. Immediately afterwards, the crooks grab a very real bow and arrow, and attempt to hunt this twelve-year-old down like she was a representative of District 7.
But, of course, the star of the show is Grumpy Cat herself; a tired, lethargic feline who looks worn down from near-constant “touring” at the mercy of her inconsiderate handlers. I am far from an “animal rights advocate,” but the exploitation of this cat borders on abuse, and there are scenes in this movie where she, frankly, looks a little sickly. She’s not in every scene, of course – there are one or two sequences where Grumpy Cat is replaced by this uneartly monstrosity:
I don’t know what that is. I only know that it must be destroyed.
I love the holiday season, as it allows us to see both the best and the worst in our fellow man. During this time of year we see unparalleled kindness and acts of charity. We also see people trample each other to save $75 on a $1,200 television. While these are vastly different acts with vastly different motivations, both make me smile due to their sincerity. Those who donate their time, or their money, or their food to homeless shelters, have a warmth of spirit and kindness of heart that makes the world a slightly better place. Meanwhile, the 350 lb. Chicago Bears fan steamrolling his way through a Walmart at 12:01am, cross-checking women into the shelves and running down children with his cart really wants that television.
They both make me smile, even if one is a demented smile.
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever lacks any semblance of such sincerity. It is cold. It is sterile. It is boring.
I wish I could tell you that Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever was the worst film I have ever seen. I wish I could lament on how it transcends the bounds of awful filmmaking to become a b-movie classic. Hell, I wish I could say it was the worst film about a talking cat that I’ve ever seen. Sadly, I cannot. The only redeeming thing I can say about it is that at least it’s not the worst Christmas movie of 2014.
Thank you, Kirk Cameron.