Of course the film industry saw an internet meme and saw the potential for a Christmas film. I can’t ignore the world’s most well-loved cat and its now growing franchise: it’s time for An [Insert Here] for Christmas to take on Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. Why, you may ask, have Lifetime dragged in Aubrey Plaza to voice a pretty funny, if only a one-joke pony of a cat to draw out that same joke for an hour and twenty-five minutes? Because f*ck you, you’re not allowed nice things!
The film has Grumpy Cat living in a pet shop, where our young heroine volunteers. Her name is Chrystal, but since the film was aired in November the Lifetime website have failed to notice or correct their misspelling of her name as Chyrstal, so I’m going to follow suit. Now Chyrstal is a nice enough, smart, quick, pretty girl- but apparently she can’t make any friends her own age. You know what’ll help that, little girl? The sudden ability to hear Grumpy Cat’s thoughts and thus communicate with her! Problem solved, nobody avoided the weirdo who thinks a cat can talk to her! There’s some hijinks to be had with a dognapping attempt, and some boring “will they won’t they” going on between Chyrstal’s mum and an elf for you not to care about, with Grumpy Cat pretending to be April Ludgate throughout the commentary.
Now there are fantastic bits of this film which could push Grumpy Cat into holding a three ho rating. I for one love the fake paws held up in front of Grumpy to make her look as if she’s scheming (very reminiscent of Jingle Cats’ harmonica player), and that’s only the beginning of the schlocky film making. It’s impossible not to notice that at least two of the costumes are from Elf and Paul Blart: Mall Cop, as if the creative team ran into a fancy dress shop the day before filming. Their casting team isn’t doing spectacularly either, and have apparently cast a fifteen year old as a douchebag of a business guy mall owner.
Then again, just when you think you’ve found the be all and end all of bad films, Grumpy herself turns around and confides in the audience how shit she thinks it is as well. One step further, Aubrey Plaza talks to you. As herself, in the recording studio. (She too is unimpressed.) It’s self-referential which works with the Muppets, but here it’s been pushed so much I found myself rolling my eyes whenever Grumpy says “welcome back, why are you here?” It’s a shame, because I was enjoying this campy festive feline flick until they reminded me I can buy several items of Grumpy Cat merchandise or live tweet the film. It’s one theatrical wink too many. Lifetime promised me a fun hour and a half, then told me off several times for watching it. I feel used, not unlike many characters in regular Lifetime shows. Also, I can make that joke because Grumpy makes a very similar one and if the cat’s making risqué jokes I might as well join in and offer up a more tasteful alternative. It’s almost as bad as Grumpy imagining her own euthanasia, which by the way is hella dark for a kids’ film. I’d stick to Nyan Cat in future.
Rating: Ho Ho and a half/Ho Ho Ho.