The Grumpy Cat TV Christmas movie is here, about a year too late, and it sucks out your soul about as much as one might expect (hope?) a Grumpy Cat TV Christmas movie to be.
Nevertheless, millions of people are going to watch it and clog up your Twitter feed on Saturday night with real-time, Sharknado-style responses to the movie in failed attempts to outwit one another, which won't make you grumpy so much as depressed. Believe me, the grumpiest cat in the world is no match for an unhappy TV critic on an off day.
If I could talk to the audience
Should you derive any pleasure at all from Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, Grumpy Cat herself (voiced by Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation) frequently interrupts her narration to remind you how awful the movie is and how it's your fault for watching.
"Deck the halls? Deck me in the face," the feline says. "You don't have to watch it, but I know you're going to," she warns viewers at the outset and then chides them all the way through, reminding them to tweet out their scorn with "hashtag WorstChristmasEver, hashtag WhyAmIWatchingThis".
What, you may ask (if you're about a trillion years old), is a Grumpy Cat?
In the cat's own words: "I'm embarrassed for you." We're embarrassed to even have to explain it, but, according to her media clips, Grumpy Cat (real name: Tardar Sauce) is a two-year-old cat who has some kind of feline disease that left her with a sort-of-adorable frown forever.
Her picture became an all-purpose internet meme in late 2012. From there, Grumpy Cat became a small but very rich empire. In the face of Grumpy Cat, it seems, her fans found the perfect holy expression of I-don't-care ridicule for all things.
We've worn out the joke, which was never an actual joke. It was just a picture, a fad, some sad evidence that our culture really hasn't moved a stone since Garfield. Now Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever steps in with all sorts of unwanted narrative.
Grumpy Cat stars here as a lazy resident of a struggling, shopping-mall pet store, spending her days directing bored insults at the animals around her. She is deeply unimpressed with their good-natured attempts to woo customers, and she holds special contempt for a champion celebrity show dog brought in to drum up business.
Stop the after-hours burglars
An introverted tweenager named Chrystal (Megan Charpentier) has acquired the special ability to hear Grumpy Cat's mean-spirited thoughts; eventually, she and Grumpy Cat spend a night in the mall ruining the plans of two would-be burglars. From the advertising, viewers may have been led to believe that the movie's climax involves a car chase with Grumpy Cat behind the wheel of a car, but alas: the movie's budget is so low that the cat must switch seats with the 12-year-old girl to let her drive. (It should be noted that Grumpy Cat, true to her personality, spends most of the movie at rest, either on pillows or in someone's arms.)
At one point, Grumpy Cat's face floats across the screen during the non-Grumpy Cat moments: "Blah, blah, blah," her voice says over the flirtatious conversation between a waitress and one of Santa's mall elves. "B-story, B-story, not my line, not my line, blah, blah, blah."
This is where the only real attraction is: at some point, Plaza, who has built a career on a comedy style that relies on half-heartedness and a side-eye towards all things, decided that a Grumpy Cat movie doesn't have to wait around to be mocked by others. She and the writers are about 10 steps ahead of viewers on this. The claws do come out in this movie, but the scratches just aren't deep enough.