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Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2014)

DVD Released: 12/16/2014

All Ratings out of



Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/10/2014

What an odd age in which we live. In 1968, Andy Warhol said, "In the future, everybody will be world-famous for fifteen minutes." He was most likely being at least a bit hyperbolic, as he had no idea that his notion would come true thanks to something called the Internet. We now have people, animals, and objects which have become household names due to the World Wide Web. Some of these individuals have actually done something impressive, but most have not. Take Grumpy Cat for example. This cat, whose really name is Tardar Sauce, became an Internet sensation simply because it looks as if she's frowning. After being featured on many items, Grumpy Cat has now made the leap to the small screen which her first special, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever. Does her appeal translate to moving pictures?

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever takes place in a shopping mall. Grumpy Cat (voiced by Aubrey Plaza) lives in a pet store owned by Marcus Crabtree (David Lewis). There she complains and razzes the other animals. Mr. Crabtree has been having financial problems, but that's about to change, as he has found a buyer for a very expensive dog. The store is often visited by a lonely girl named Chrystal (Megan Charpentier). She has recently moved to the area with her mother, Tabby (Shauna Johannesen), who works in the mall, and she's had trouble making new friends. So, she decides to visit the mall after hours to see Grumpy Cat. Unbeknownst to Chrystal, two dim-witted musicians, Zack (Evan Todd) and Donny (Isaac Haig), have decided to steal the expensive dog. Will Chrystal and Grumpy Cat be able to save the day?

In the event that you didn't hear about it/see it when it aired on TV in November of this year, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever was shown on the Lifetime network. Now, Lifetime has been infamous for decades for its original movies which often show women being abused or murdered, despite the fact that they once touted themselves as being the network "For Women". Recently, Liftetime has been subtly trying to change their brand with movies like Flowers in the Attic and Lizzie Borden. If you allow for the assumption that cats and Internet silliness appeal to women, it would track that Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever would be at home on Lifetime. However, I don't think many were expecting the movie which we actually got.

In short, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever is one of the weirdest things ever shown on TV. It is a truly bizarre combination of good and bad, clever and stupid. The plot plays out like a warmed-over rip-off of Home Alone, as Chrystal (why do we need the "H" in her name?), with the help of Grumpy Cat, must fend off the robbers by outsmarting them. We don't get the violence and booby-traps of Home Alone, but the overall premise is still very similar. These scenes are tepid at best, and their sheer unoriginality and the uninspired nature make them difficult to watch. Stereotypically dumb criminals (with a decidedly odd motive) attempt to pull of an odd robbery, and none of it, not even the "plot twist" is interesting. If this had been the entire movie, then Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever would have been an unmitigated disaster.

However, there is another side to this film, which is comprised by Grumpy Cat. Clearly, Lifetime bought into the concept wholeheartedly, as Grumpy, aided by Aubrey Plaza giving her familiar deadpan delivery, skewers everything in sight. In the event that you aren't familiar with Grumpy Cat, the joke is that, given her sour facial expression, she hates everything. This carries over into the movie, as Grumpy ridicules everything and makes fun of all of the other characters. But, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever goes far beyond that and gets very meta at times. Grumpy questions our taste for viewing the movie and urges people to Tweet comments about the movie using "#whyareyoustillwatchingthis". She calls out Lifetime and is sure to point out how this differs from a typical movie on the network. We even get a brief shot of Plaza, to remind us who is doing the voice. The movie gets really weird when Grumpy begins to imagine herself as other characters.

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever is one of these TV projects which probably got built-in ratings from those tuning in just to see how much of a train-wreck that it was. I'm sure that many, like me, were surprised to see just how strange this movie is -- Not only that, but how dichotomous it is. The "story" parts don't work at all. This is isn't strictly because of the pedestrian plot. Megan Charpentier is asked to carry the movie (and a cat) and she isn't up to the task. Oddly, she was very impressive as the older sister in Mama, but this is straight-up "Disney Channel acting", as she yells every line. If you can ignore all of that, or fast-forward through it, anyone who loves cats and cynical humor will find themselves laughing at Grumpy Cat's pointed and often bizarre comments. I guess an entire movie made up simply of Grumpy Cat's remarks would have been too weird for Lifetime, but that would have made for an awesome experience.

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever was shot in an oddly Canadian mall on DVD courtesy of Lionsgate. The movie has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing no over grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, as the movie shows off many festive tones, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is acceptable and the depth is pretty good for a TV movie on DVD. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 2.0 track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. We don't get any truly notable audio effects here, save for a few stereo effects, but the all-important Grumpy Cat lines are always easy to hear.

The Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever DVD has a surprising number of brief extras. "Grumpy Cat's Ice Bucket Challenge" (2 minutes) shows Daniel Roebuck, Evan Todd, and Isaac Haig on-set drenching themselves while Grumpy Cat looks on. "Behind-the-Scenes" (1 minute) shows how puppet duplicates of Grumpy Cat were made by Jim Henson's studios in order to shoot certain shots. "Aubrey Gets Into Character" (3 minutes) is a silly short in which Plaza attempts to find the Grumpy voice within. We see her playing with Grumpy Cat. "'Santa at the Mall' Promo", "'Santa's Cookies' Promo" and "'Carolers' Promo" are all short commercials for the movie.

Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long