Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Holiday Thoughts ‘14—Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (2014) *

G, 85 min.
Director: Tim Hill
Writers: Tim Hill, Jeff Morris
Starring: Grumpy Cat, Aubrey Plaza (voice), Megan Charpentier, Daniel Roebuck, Russell Peters, David Lewis, Evan Todd, Isaac Haig, Shauna Johannesen, Casey Manderson, Tyler Johnston

The circumstances that led to my watching “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever” are surprisingly mundane. It was a Friday night. The kids decided to spend the evening at their cousins’ house. Ang was going through e-mail that had piled up through the week. I was doing some similar cleaning on my computer. I figured the wife and I would take in a couple of catch up television episodes while we waited for the kids to get back. I turned the TV on just to have some noise in the background. Before I knew it, Ang had gone to bed and I was stuck watching a bad Lifetime Christmas special starring an Internet meme sensation from a year ago.

True, I didn’t really watch it. I didn’t really have to in order to follow it’s “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” story about a shopping mall heist that involves a socially inept girl who can somehow hear Grumpy Cat’s thoughts in the role of Blart. Frankly, that’s as much of the plot I want to discuss.

What’s really strange about this abysmal failure of a movie is how aware it and its filmmakers seem to be of that very fact. I’ve never seen a movie so willing to offer up its own criticisms against itself. There are many asides by the titular cat explaining how bad this movie is going to be, is being and has been. You’d think this would be a bright spot in the film, especially with the usually wonderful Aubrey Plaza providing Grumpy’s voice. Unfortunately, Plaza delivers her lines as if she might be the prime suspect in the homicide investigation into her agent’s death by foul play. What’s worse is that her lines of deriding criticism over the very film her voice is in don’t come across as funny, rather they’re merely accurate.

I don’t think there’s a person on this planet that actually expected “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever” to be any good, a blanket statement that apparently includes the movie’s writers. This would explain their attempt to diffuse this notion with jokes about how bad the movie is, but how did this not actually work as a preemptive tactic, at least in a minimal sense? I don’t know. It’s a unique approach, but it still does nothing to save this sad attempt to cash in on a passing fad from being anything other than a sad attempt to cash in on an already dead fad.

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