Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever Plot:
12-year-old Chrystal (Megan Charpentier) is a lonely girl who makes a magical Christmas wish to finally have a friend. She gets that in the form of Grumpy Cat (voice of Aubrey Plaza), a constantly scowling feline who simply doesn’t want to be bothered. But when Grumpy’s precious pet store is in danger, her and Chrystal team up to save the day.
The unrelenting popularity of Grumpy Cat is borderline absurd. It’s nearly impossible to walk into any mall without seeing a stuffed version of what is easily the most famous cat since Garfield. No lie, I have a sticker of Grumpy Cat on my desk at work. It’s enough to make you forget that this is just a cat afflicted with feline dwarfism. Her real name is Tardar Sauce and she isn’t grumpy. She just has a perpetual scowl that makes her the symbol of displeasure. Yet that’s all you need to become an Internet sensation. More than that, it’s apparently the exact criteria to get your own movie on Lifetime. A movie that is called Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. A movie that entirely hinges on the fact that its main star, a cat, looks grumpy. It also dabbles in kidnapping, breaking and entering, property damage, theft, and child endangerment.
It’s a terrible, terrible film. Even by Lifetime’s standards.
Let’s get this out of the way first. Aubrey Plaza, without a doubt, is this movie’s saving grace. She’s actually the only legitimately positive aspect of this film. Clearly, if you’re going to base your movie on the grumpiest animal ever, getting the most sarcastic actress in the business to voice her is the best decision. On multiple occasions throughout the two hour run-time, Grumpy nonchalantly breaks the fourth wall and openly questions why you are even watching the movie. The movie opens up with Grumpy saying she doesn’t care about any of this and that, “You don’t have to watch it. You will be disappointed.” Yes, you will be disappointed, but not with the many moments of Grumpy making random comments about practically anything. Those are actually funny and I laughed at how increasingly bizarre they became. It almost felt like an episode of Family Guy. The true highlight was, after we’re introduced to Chrystal, Plaza herself comes in and says, “She has second billing behind me! Aubrey Plaza as Grumpy Cat.” A close second? The pet store owner going on a long tangent about how he’s going to make millions off turning Grumpy Cat into a massive internet meme, complete with actual Grumpy Cat products being thrown around. The fact that this movie is on Lifetime is mentioned multiple times too. It’s a cheap way to get laughs, but I laughed nonetheless.
Everything else was just awful. Really, really awful. Like the entire story for instance. After breaking into the pet store that she works at, Chrystal witnesses the kidnapping of a valuable dog named Jojo (voice of Stephen Stanton) by two dimwitted musicians named Donny (Isaac Haig) and Zack (Even Todd). Instead of going to the police like a sensible person, a fact that Grumpy herself fantasises to end the movie sooner but knows won’t happen because they want advertiser money, Chrystal decides to fight the thieves. It’s like Home Alone except on other people’s property. What this means is that, in her quest to stop these petty criminals, Chrystal freely breaks into places and destroys various objects that complete strangers own. She even steals a Chevy Camaro and demolishes an extremely elaborate Christmas display. Yes, this girl is 12. Yes, she essentially becomes a criminal herself to stop a pair of dognappers. No, she doesn’t receive any consequences for her actions.
Nothing that happens holds water too. To start off with, why would Donny and Zack steal a dog? This is something their boss George (Daniel Roebuck) openly questions. Jojo might be worth one million dollars, but last time I checked, the diamonds Donny and Zack looked at earlier wouldn’t actually run away. Seriously, if you were to steal something for money, what would you take? A dog or freaking diamonds. There’s also Chrystal’s mother Tabby (Shauna Johannesen) who is easily the worst mother in history. She invites her daughter to a holiday party and straight up forgets about her so she can get her sex on with her co-worker Jesse (Casey Manderson). Okay, they don’t actually have sex, but she clearly wants it. Tabby even says “You have a nice log” when talking about Jesse’s fake fireplace. She also never taught her daughter the importance of authority. See that moms-to-be? If you ignore your 12-year-old daughter at a holiday party, she will go on an adventure that will lead her to steal a car and get into a life-or-death standoff. Also, she can talk to cats.
The movie glosses over plenty of serious issues too. The biggest of all is how Chrystal is the only one who can hear Grumpy Cat speak. She talks to the cat on multiple occasions and yet people just laugh it off. At one point, Tabby says she will get her daughter help. As in psychological help. Can you blame her? Yet that’s quickly brushed under the rug because, as Grumpy said, “Lifetime wants a sequel!” There’s also the matter that Chrystal is approached by a stranger in a Santa outfit (Russell Peters) claiming to be from another mall. But wait! That mall closed down. This guy in a Santa outfit was literally a random weirdo promising this girl some Christmas magic. Who cares if the magic is real, I see stranger danger. Call the police! Oh wait, no one does that in this world. And then there’s the litany of crimes that Chrystal commits and, again, receives no consequences for.
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever is easily one giant marketing ploy. It was a way for Lifetime to make easy advertising dollars and a means for the Grumpy Cat meme to get pushed. Grumpycats.com is literally put on the screen for you to see. Chrystal steals a Camaro with the Chevrolet logo prominently displayed. There is a five second shot of the Target logo with no words. I hope most of this revenue goes to paying Plaza. She’s why this film had any entertainment value and is likely the only one who will stay buoyant after this travesty. That and the titular cat, Tardar Sauce, who will live in the annals of internet history. But don’t forget, Tardar Sauce really is just a cat, which means a lot of this filming definitely revolved around placing a camera in front of an animal that didn’t do anything in return. Think about that.
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television and every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.