This weekend's awful Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever was doomed from the start, given Lifetime's ham-handed understanding of irony: A bad movie that continually tells you how bad it is is not suddenly a good movie, any more than an asshole who knows he's an asshole is not an asshole. This movie is an asshole.
"Some are born great, others achieve greatness, and some watch Christmas movies starring cats. *meow*" — Grumpy Cat
If you're a lucky soul who's not "in the know" when it comes to memes that reached their peak interest two years ago or Lifetime's current "get rich quick" approach to film-making, then everything about Grumpy Cat and her plight is foreign to you. You are perhaps one of the luckiest souls on Earth, and for that, you deserve to know the back-story and suffer with the rest of us. Due to feline dwarfism and an underbite, the one and only Grumpy Cat (also known as Tardar Sauce and formerly known as just "Tard," because the cat's owners honestly are the worst) has a perpetually "grumpy" facial expression. Hilarious, I know.
That's it. That's the backstory. So now, the year is 2014 and Grumpy Cat has her own talking animal Christmas movie, with Aubrey Plaza (the human version of Grumpy Cat, you see, only without the deformity) as her voice. This is what happens when that whole Mayan calendar apocalypse thing doesn't pan out. People get bold, and memes get their own Lifetime movies with taglines like: "When it comes to the holiday spirit, all pets are off." The movie itself is one-part Homeward Bound, one-part Home Alone, and every other part shameless cash grab. In fact, the word "shame" might not be in anyone involved with the movie's vocabulary. That's only strange because this is a movie that begins with a dictionary definition, so words are actually pretty important to the entire experience:
"Are you still here? You are? Why? *meow*" — Grumpy Cat
Unsurprisingly, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever is not the next Citizen Kane. The worst part about all this—outside of the animal exploitation—is that it is two hours (with those very important ads) dedication insulting the poor audience who chooses to watch this simply for choosing to watch this. It's not just insulting the hate watchers in order to add another level of irony. There is no appreciation for even those who legitimately want to see a Grumpy Cat movie, those people who even tuned into WWE Monday Night RAW to see the cat.
This is the most self-aware of Lifetime's latest string of dumb movies, which actually makes it worse. (Although the less said about the network's Romeo and Juliet-esque re-telling of Aaliyah and R. Kelly's entire situation, the better.) Grumpy Cat doesn't just voiceover; she breaks the fourth wall about how this whole situation (the movie itself and the audience) is stupid. It would be almost worth applauding if it weren't so upsetting.
This movie knows it's dumb. This movie knows it only exists for the money. This movie knows the fact that it exists is a joke. And it's laughing all the way to the bank. Lifetime movies have never been the most brilliant pieces of cinema, but at least there's been a sense of an attempt at making a competent film. There's no actual worthwhile story that can come out of this cat, and the movie admits that it's only stretching all of this out for two hours, because, as Grumpy Cat says, anything less would mean "a lot less advertising revenue." Lifetime wants this movie to be hate-watched and live-tweeted, because it's a win-win for them.
"#WorstChristmasEver #WhyAmIWatchingThis *meow*" — Grumpy Cat
This movie exists, and there will probably be sequels.
But if there's one good thing to say about the movie, it's that poor, helpless Grumpy Cat steals the show. That's mostly because every scene without the cat is more boring than watching paint dry. In fact, the scenes could have easily been paint drying, because they are just that forgettable. The two characters who try to channel Robert Downey Jr. and the other guy from Weird Science style-wise (while trying to channel Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern from Home Alone for everything else) are "almost" entertaining, but they're also rock stars-slash-cat burglars, so they're as awful as everything else about this movie. At least every human involved can say they got a paycheck for Christmas; that's a positive spin.
Hopefully one day Tardar Sauce the Grumpy Cat will gather up her strength to rebel against all those who allowed this movie to be made. Until then, she will continue to be a cog in the meme machine and an unwitting weapon in the war on Christmas. As it turns out, Fox News was right about that the whole time; they just didn't realize Lifetime was leading the charge. Next up: The Santa Con, starring Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey), Wendy Williams (producer of that Aaliyah movie), and Barry Watson (the last season of Gossip Girl).
"...I wish you'd put me to sleep. This is animal cruelty. Do the humane thing! Give me the gas. *meow*" — Grumpy Cat