Recap: Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (2014)

GCWC

What were you thinking, Lifetime? You had a perfectly great Christmas movie rife with dozens and dozens of terrible scenes just waiting to be put into a hilarious recap. Instead, you shoehorned Grumpy Cat into the movie and she ends up doing my job for me. The inclusion of Grumpy Cat ends up ruining Grumpy Cat’s own movie.

Famous internet meme Grumpy Cat is voiced by the always dour Aubrey Plaza. She does have the grumpiness edge, but her voice is irritably grating when it’s coming from a cat. The other problem is that she narrates the whole thing and points out all the terribleness. One of my favourite things to do is watch a terrible movie with friends and constantly bash it for all its shortcomings but when the narrator of the movie points out and insults all the shortcomings before you have a chance, well, it takes all the enjoyment out of watching a bad movie. Furthermore, I actually enjoyed the semi-Home Alone rehash of Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever; I just wish it didn’t star Grumpy Cat, who sucks the fun out of every scene (wait, was that the point?).

We open with Grumpy Cat explaining how clichéd this movie will be, how she shouldn’t have her own movie and instead suggesting that Keyboard Cat is a more talented choice, and making fun of any scene that doesn’t feature her. She introduces us to the pet store where she lives with a bunch of other pets who all want to be adopted, including a snake, dog, gerbil and a parrot that speaks with an English accent. They have names but you won’t need to know them. We can also understand their think-speak, much like Grumpy Cat, but mostly they just think-speak about wanting to be adopted. We learn that Grumpy Cat is grumpy because her two previous owners returned her, because she looks like the kind of cat that would smother you in your sleep (this joke lands as Grumpy Cat doesn’t interrupt it with a supposedly sassy comment).

The pet store is situated in a mall, which opens your story up to sponsors and ad revenue. The owner finds out via a Dave Franco/Michael Cera offspring, who just happens to be the youngest mall manager (not Mr. Manager) in history. But fear not, the store owner has an idea to save the store: he’s going to put Grumpy Cat’s face up on the internet and create the most popular meme in history and make billions of dollars on merchandise! Oh wait, no, the movie points out that that would be crazy and that that sequence was a joke to shamelessly sell Grumpy Cat merchandise (the movie repeats this ploy two more times). Instead, the store owner has acquired a dog named Jojo, who is worth a million dollars because he has Fabio’s luscious locks grafted to him (not literally though). It’s a good thing too, because before this plan to save the store was rolled out, Grumpy Cat had an extended sequence of her being kicked out, living on the streets and finally being euthanized…a little bit dark for something kids would probably watch? Some of these imagined sequences feature Grumpy Cat being played by a mediocre puppet which Plaza constantly points out is in fact a mediocre puppet. Where’s the enjoyment when the movie is doing the narrative equivalent of turning on the applause sign?

Enter the real main character, Chrystal, who spells her name with an ‘h’ since she doesn’t want to grow up to be a stripper. She’s a girl of about 14, volunteers at the pet store, and generally hangs out at the mall being made fun of by more popular girls. She has no friends until mall Santa, played by Russell Peters, gives her a Christmas coin to throw in a Christmas well in the Christmas section of the mall. He also tries to disappear by hiding behind something to complete the magic-ness of the moment but Chrystal finds him after believing he disappeared for less than a second (he’s disappointed that it never works). Even though she clearly doesn’t believe in magic, she throws the coin in and wishes for a friend.

Back in the pet store, Chrystal can suddenly hear Grumpy Cat’s think-speak (but not the other animals) and is shocked by all the mean insults Grumpy Cat lobs, which includes calling her a blonde witch. The popular girls then rightly make fun of her for talking to a cat.

She goes back to her house where I believe her mom is single and mingling with some other guy (he didn’t seem like her husband) at a holiday party. These people are all wearing ugly Christmas sweaters and we cut back to them a bunch of times during the course of this movie, but as far as I can tell, they’re also not important. Chrystal then hallucinates a Grumpy Cat floating head that calls her back to the mall, so she sneaks out of her house and no one notices for the entire movie. Get your priorities straight, mingling single mom!

I should add at this point that Grumpy Cat likes to narrate into every commercial break like it’s a cliffhanger and also gives a recap of what happened before the commercials just in case you got so bored you fell asleep. That’s literally not a joke, Grumpy Cat again sucks all the fun out of this review because she comments on how bad the movie is and that you shouldn’t be watching it.

Chrystal breaks into the mall and wakes up Grumpy Cat, who is understandably grumpy about being woken up. Here’s where the movie kicks into high gear! A Toyota Echo pulls up in the mall parking lot. Out step Zack and Danny, two wannabe rock stars who are in a band called Dragon’s Tail. They are the best thing to happen to the movie because they’re beyond stupid and very incompetent. Picture the Wet Bandits, minus Harry and with an extra clone of Marv. The two bicker over who would win in a sing-off between Van Halen’s lead singers before it devolves into who would win in a karate match. Together they enter the mall and tie up George the security guard who was asleep anyways. Then they proceed to the pet store where Chrystal hides and witnesses them dog-nap Jojo. Unfortunately for Zack and Danny, one of them leaves the keys to the car in the store. They get to the car and can’t find the keys so they get into an argument where Zack threatens to leave the band and start his own called Tail of the Dragon! Eventually they realize that, duh, they left the keys in the pet store.

Back in the pet store though, Chrystal has plans to ruin their get-rich-quick scheme. She tries to talk Grumpy Cat into helping save Jojo, and obviously Grumpy Cat doesn’t care, but she finally agrees to help after Chrystal explains that she’d be losing her home. Chrystal grabs the keys and we see two ways this movie could go: the quick way where she bikes to inform the cops, and her and Grumpy are heroes OR the long way which is what we get to see because it’s a Lifetime movie. The even shorter way would be for Chrystal to use a cell phone that every teen has nowadays but I guess she’s poor or something. Maybe this lack of cell phone was the reason the popular girls were making fun of her? Chrystal hears Zack and Danny returning and decides to run. She throws the keys into the Christmas fountain from earlier in the movie but doesn’t get a wish. Instead she sets off the whole Christmas village display which draws the attention of Zack and Danny. Chrystal runs into a sporting goods store. Z and D follow but release Jojo in the process who goes bounding down the halls of the mall.

In the sporting goods store, Chrystal distracts Z and D by leaving Grumpy Cat in a tent. Z and D had seen Grumpy Cat earlier and because they’re dumb they assumed the cat stole the keys. Chrystal instead steps out in full paintball regalia and peppers them in the butt with paintballs. Z and D hide behind a canoe as Chrystal continues to fire. Grumpy Cat helps out by imagining herself with a paintball minigun…or did that actually happen? I think she was just unreliably narrating. She also tells an imaginary British Grumpy Cat to get lost after he points out that they don’t make paintball guns sized for cats…yeah that was supposed to be a joke…terrible.

One of the Dragon’s Tail members, I believe it was Danny, makes a run for it and grabs a bow and arrow with the definite intention of escalating this dog-napping to murder. But because he’s so bumbling, he shoots himself in the foot. He screams but because he’s a rock star it sounds like Roger Daltrey of The Who belting out the “YEAHHHHH” of ‘Won’t get Fooled Again’. I told you these guys were the best!

Chrystal and Grumpy Cat use this chance to escape. Zack pulls the arrow out of Danny’s foot (who shows no ill effects) and they exit the store and spot Young Mall Manager who just happens to be there for some reason that night. YMM has caught Jojo and is either planning to bring him back to the pet store or get in on the million dollar dog-napping business; I’m not sure which. Either way Zack and Danny grab him assuming he was the one shooting paintballs at them. He denies it and eventually they believe him after some stupid banter that I can’t remember; it features Z and D though so you know it was good! They tie him up to a post so he stays out of their way.

Meanwhile, Chrystal ends up in George’s security office and unties him so he can help her. He says they cut the phone line and he doesn’t have a cell phone. He also doesn’t have a car because his wife drives him to work. His plan is therefore to send Chrystal on her bike to get help. He also continually suggests they should grab the keys Chrystal took earlier and use that car….suspicious, right? Right. Just before Chrystal is able to leave, George’s CELL PHONE rings and it’s Z and D saying they’ve lost the dog. George also chastises them for not knowing how he would answer the phone if he’s supposed to be tied up because they’re too dumb to figure it out. Anyway, George is the mastermind behind this dog-napping scheme and he apprehends Chrystal and ties her up in the pet store to interrogate her in order to find out where the keys are. She breaks and tells him they are in the fountain. Grumpy Cat returns at this point and releases all the pets in the store who attack George and scare him off; this includes a dog biting him in the groin, which is always hilarious. The animals celebrate but then are reminded by Debbie Downer Grumpy Cat that they don’t have million dollar Jojo, so the store is still doomed.

George, Z and D, and Jojo are finally all together after recovering the keys and stealing change from the fountain for good measure. They head for their tiny Toyota Echo and make a Tetris reference to how they get all the band gig equipment in there after George points out its compactness (BTW, George is really fat so they have trouble fitting four people in this car). Chrystal watches all this from the mall and declares it utterly hopeless but Grumpy Cat convinces her to drive a new Camaro that’s on display in the mall (more ad revenue). Grumpy Cat also imagined that she was driving the car because she’s an attention hog and producers won’t turn down a chance to show a cat driving a car. Chrystal is somehow good at driving despite never having driven previously. She races down the hallway towards the doors and Grumpy Cat narrates that they’re about to bust through them in spectacular movie fashion! Instead Chrystal stops, gets out to hit the handicap button, and then drives through the now open doors. Grumpy Cat ruins this again by saying they didn’t have the budget for that kind of destruction. You didn’t need to tell us that, Grumpy Cat; it was funny enough without your narration. The ruining continues in the next scene where in footage that’s improbably sped up, Chrystal drives the Camaro in circles around the Toyota Echo while the criminals try to escape. I’m all prepared to make a quippy comment about how stupid that method would be in trying to stop another car when of course Grumpy Cat again ruins the fun by telling Chrystal to continue driving circles of death around them; *sigh*. Eventually she sideswipes them and they crash into some Santa house decoration which Grumpy Cat points out that they had the budget to destroy because it was cheap. Again I didn’t need that comment, Grumpy Cat, I can make those jokes myself!

At some point, Chrystal had managed to call those people who were partying at her house and her mom and mingly guy show up with the cops. Finally, Grumpy Cat doesn’t ruin the movie and gets a laugh out of me for the following joke: Chrystal’s mom runs up to her and asks her if she’s okay and if the robbers touched her, to which Grumpy Cat narrates “That’s a different kind of Lifetime movie.”

Oh wait, Dragon’s Tail and George get arrested, Chrystal’s family adopts Grumpy Cat, and Young Mall Manager remains tied to a pole in the mall.

THE END

2 Rating

It has some enjoyable moments, but for a movie based on a meme, it could’ve been a lot worse.

Top IMDb Comment:

If you enjoy juvenile satire — Mel Brooks, The Simpsons, Mad Magazine — you will love Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. I did!

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