Grumpy Cat (AKA, Tarder Sauce) became one of the biggest internet stories of 2014. Owned by Tabetha Bundesen, Grumpy Cat shot to stardom after Bundesen’s brother posted a photo of the cat online, which caught fire and became a meme sensation. In the blink of an eye Grumpy Cat suddenly became an overnight sensation, getting her face plastered on mugs, T-shirts, and making the cover of both The Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine. Of course, not surprisingly, Hollywood came knocking and here we are at Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, starring a lot of actors working desperately to come to terms with the fact they’re playing second fiddle to an irritable cat.
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever is an apt title because it may be the worst Christmas movie ever. This is an insipid, cheaply produced cash grab that has a plot that will engage only the least discerning of viewers. The jokes are tired, Life After Beth’s Aubrey Plaza’s voice over narration is snooze-inducing, and Grumpy Cat mostly stares at the screen looking unhappy. The movie around Grumpy Cat is essentially a Home Alone clone that takes place inside of a mall, except without the wit or zaniness of that holiday classic (keep in mind I’m calling Home Alone a “classic,” which should tell you how bad Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever is). The whole plot revolves around a pair of bungling burglars trying to steal a million dollar show dog from a pet store. You couldn’t get any less inspired if you threw in a Hobbit and an X-Man.
The filmmakers clearly knew they couldn’t get Grumpy Cat to do anything except pout, so the popular feline spends almost the entire feature being held up to the TV screen by unseen hands or being carried around by the lead actress. I suppose kids will find the cat cute, but the rest of the movie is just a big lump of coal. The actors all display a level of professionalism saved for the worst Lifetime movies; the child actress (Megan Charpentier, Jennifer’s Body) is cloying and the rest of the cast The Late Show‘s Daniel Roebuck is the biggest name here) bumbles through a screenplay that should have been tossed out on day one. Just to keep adults mildly interested there are some pop culture references thrown into the mix, including a debate over the best Van Halen lead singer and the movie and movies like The Usual Suspects. “See!,” the filmmakers are trying to say, “We’re hip and topical!”
At one point Grumpy Cat comes on screen and tells the viewers “this movie is awful.” How rare to have a movie critique itself so accurately while the film is playing. While there isn’t anything offensive in Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, why would you spend your time watching a movie this bad when there are so many other better holiday movies out there? This includes Silent Night, Deadly Night and Christmas Evil.
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer looks about as good as you’d imagine a recent made-for-TV. The image is clear of any defects or imperfections and looks bright and cheery. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in English. The audio mix sounds appropriate and is exceptionally front heavy. There are no alternate soundtracks or subtitles on this disc. There are no bonus features.
Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever arrives on DVD as a bottom-of-the-barrel family feature that will be forgotten as quickly as Grumpy Cat come 2015. An insipid story and lackluster performances bog down a movie that will entertain only Grumpy Cat’s most die hard fans, and they’re probably all dogs. Just like this movie.