Bad Movies Beware!
‘Tis the season, people!
Ah, yes… once again we arrive at the most wonderful time of year. It’s a time of giving, a time of togetherness, and a time when we open our mailboxes to discover that one prepackaged fruit cake that keeps making its way to every household in the country because no one in their right minds will dare eat fruitcake, let alone one that’s been circulating since the fifties.
Of course, nothing says “Holiday Season” like watching bad Christmas movies! I’m starting to wonder if I’ve tapped the B-Horror Christmas movie market dry, which would depress me if that were the case. So, I’ve been hitting the Lifetime and Hallmark markets here and there, which both have their own ration of Christmas S**t to stuff up your stocking and bring you that good ol’ holiday case of bubble guts.
Now don’t get me wrong: I like Grumpy Cat. Lord knows I’ve used enough of the memes here on Fail-Flix. And I’m one of those who thinks it’s great that the owner has been able to make an unexpected fortune off the fact that her cat looks like a stroke victim. Have I ever thought, “Hey! There should be a Grumpy Cat movie!”
Well, someone did. So, let’s heat up the morning tea, put on some Slayer, and get rolling!
The movie opens with narration by Grumpy. What caught my attention right off the bat? It’s the real cat. As in the actual animal, Tardar Sauce, also known as Grumpy Cat, talking to the camera and moving around the screen like the host of a late-night show. Actually, the animal isn’t even trained, so it’s some off-camera jack-hole holding her up and moving her around like she’s pacing in front of the camera.
And it’s meta. GAWD, it’s META.
Grumpy lives in a pet shop inside a mall in Whogivesaf**kville, USA. She’s had a life of botched adoptions and returns and is content to just lay in her bed in a sedative-induced half-coma all day long while the other animals carry on in a hellacious racket every time a customer walks into the store.
Note: NONE of the animals in the movie are trained. They are real animals, voiced over (badly), and a lot of the lines are very obviously improv. Grumpy may be the only scripted animal in the movie, and the drugs are likely the only thing that make that possible.
Mr. Crabtree, the shop owner, is seriously behind on rent. He’s acquired a dog that is worth a whopping one-million dollars and has a buyer lined up. The sale is a sure-fire way to save the shop, much to the irritation of the mall’s new landlord, Brockman, who looks like he’s all of fifteen years old.
Enter Chrystal, the precious twelve-year-old cliché… I mean, girl who works as a helper under Crabtree at the shop and is friends with everyone at the mall, including the blowhard security guard, George. (Hey, Nash Bridges fans! It’s Daniel Roebuck!) Chrystal is new in town and has a hard time making friends. She gets blown off and picked on by the three mean girls in the film (don’t worry, they’re actually more irrelevant than the rest of the movie).
Chrystal meets up with the Westbrook Mall Santa, who is in covering for the regular mall Santa. The guy comes complete with a fake beard—it’s priceless. He gives her a “magic coin” and tells her to throw it into the wishing well. She wishes for a friend who understands her and tosses it in. The Santa disappears (well, he actually messes that up), and Chrystal heads to Crabtree’s shop.
Meanwhile, we meet Zack and Donny, the two bungling villains in the film. They’re a couple of metalheads that are trying to get funds and attention to get a record label. They hear about the million-dollar-dog, Jo-Jo, and come up with a scheme to break in and steal the animal.
Back at the shop, Chrystal discovers that she can hear Grumpy speak, and the two find out that they both have loneliness in common. The mall closes, and Chrystal leaves to go to a staff Christmas party with her mother and her mother’s new boyfriend. But, while at the party, Chrystal can’t stop thinking about Grumpy. She leaves and heads back to the mall.
Zack and Donny also show up, and they break into the shop while Chrystal is inside talking with Grumpy. They steal Jo-Jo, but Donny leaves his keys behind. Thus, events take a turn and the movie starts moving a little more forward. Chrystal takes the keys and Grumpy and leaves the shop to stop the two metal heads from stealing Jo-Jo.
What follows is a Home Alone-esque showdown between Chrystal and the two beef-skulls that doesn’t go on, frankly, long enough to have any real lasting showing of Chrystal’s strength as a character. Meanwhile, we’re treated to shots of the Christmas party where Chrystal’s mom and her boyfriend are having a ball and completely unaware that Chrystal has gone out. Back at the mall, Chrystal finds George tied up, frees him, and quickly finds out that he’s the mastermind behind the heist.
Of course, the movie takes a turn for the worst and then ends off with everything being okay, the bad guys getting theirs in the end, and happily ever after because Lifetime.
VERDICT: Gag me with a squeaky toy.
Oh, GOD this movie was awful.
What’s the worst thing? It’s still endearing. If you can get through the drivel of randomness that makes up a good half of the film, it’s not a bad little concept.
Notice I said “concept.” Not movie.
Let’s start with the good things because I like to look at the positives as much as possible.
Yeah, I couldn’t even type that without chuckling, myself.
Once again, Lifetime has proven that they just need to stop with the bulls**t. Just because a movie is made for television does NOT mean that every aspect of it has to be a low-budget s**tshow that can be equated to finding skid-marked underwear in laundry that’s been neglected for a week. For you those who speak opposite, I present my first piece of evidence: Stephen King’s It. Great miniseries, hailed as one of the scariest made for television movies out there.
One thing I can’t argue is the casting. Everyone was cast based on stereotype. Chrystal is the “Girl-Next-Door” trope who’s just moved to the city after her parents went through a particularly nasty divorce. Her mother is the “Hard-working Single Mom,” George is the “Blowhard Incompetent Mall Cop,” and Zack and Donny are the “Metal Head Hoodlums.”
Let’s speak on that for a minute.
I’m actually a little offended by these two meatheads. Lifetime bases their characters on stereotypes and tropes. I get it. Fine. I’m a metalhead. Does this make me a criminal and complete moron? No. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this kind of thing. How about a movie where there are “good” metalheads? Challenge yourself a little, Lifetime.
The acting is truly awful. Grumpy is monotone the whole movie, which is kind of Aubrey Plaza’s shtick, anyway. But the character really has no tonal inflection at all regardless of what’s going on in the film. The adults act like buffoons, and Chrystal is really the only character in the film with any damn sense whatsoever. Megan Charpentier plays the role straight, but the writing sometimes makes her lines come off a little goofy.
The music is as cliché as the rest of the film and manages to showcase some of the worst carols out there, such as “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The effects are also inexcusably cheap, right down to someone literally holding Tardar Sauce, the actual Grumpy Cat, up to the camera and walking her around and gesturing with her as if she’s doing so independently.
Grumpy also acts as if she’s sedated the ENTIRE film. She lays in a bed the majority of her scenes. I looked into this, and the owner (thankfully) has stated that Grumpy has never been sedated for an event of any kind. She’s just a sleepy cat.
In truth, if not for the sheer amount of random mish-mash they throw in to make the film a living meme, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever could’ve been a cute little movie. But, it also would’ve been about thirty to forty-five minutes long.
Slapping it with five Piles of S**t. It has its moments that are entertaining for what it is, but it ultimately floats at the top of the toilet water as another shallow Christmas flick that attempts to capitalize on an already popular bandwagon. In this case, it’s a cat with a f**ked up face. Nice one, Lifetime. Well-played.