Last night I made the decision to forgo social plans with other adult people so I could stay home and watch Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever for your recapping enjoyment. But hell, let’s face it: I live for this sh*t. I once interrupted the termination of a seven year relationship — mid breakup — because I had an appointment with Beverly Hills Chihuahua and I was scheduled to review it. I sat in the theater and cried and cried and cried as I watched the misadventures of a stupid little dog voiced by Drew Barrymore, but you know what? TOTALLY WORTH IT. I don’t mess around when it comes to my craft. I’m like James Franco.
Anyway, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever is, as expected, a dumb movie. Aubrey Plaza knows that this is a dumb movie. Aubrey Plaza knows that you know that she knows that this is a dumb movie. This movie knows that this is a dumb movie. Which is actually what made this not a completely terrible movie in the end.
The cheesy plot constructed entirely around a cat that is famous on the internet is liberally peppered with meta references, fourth wall breaking, and winks to the audience, all to the point that you just have to give in and roll with it. At least it’s a dumb movie not even remotely trying to aspire to being anything but a dumb movie. I can give it credit for that.
As the movie begins, following an opening credit sequence in which Grumpy Cat is bopped around to “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” Grumpy Cat lives in a dumpy mall pet store called “Whiskers” with a bunch of animals that nobody wants. For some reason Grumpy Cat is not kept in a cage like the other animals, but sits in a cat bed in the middle of the store. She was returned by customers twice for “being too grumpy,” one little boy returning her for a fish.
The young, new mall manager comes preening in and informs the Whiskers owner, Mr. Crabtree, that his rent his overdue, leading to our first meta moment of the evening. Mr. Crabtree explains how he plans to get rich by making Grumpy Cat a famous internet celebrity along other hallowed internet cats such as Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat, complete with merchandising and commercial deals.
But, as Grumpy Cat points out, everybody knows what a dumb idea that is, so they rewind to hear Mr. Crabtree’s real plan to save the store that involves selling a dog apparently worth one million dollars named “Jojo,” which he is for some reason keeping in his sad little mall pet store. I don’t know if there even exists any dogs that are worth such an impressive sum of money, couldn’t they have gone with something more reasonable, like $100,000? And how did Mr. Crabtree, as the owner of a failing mall pet shop get his hands on such a creature in the first place? Inconsequential.
Now the little girl protagonist, Chrystal, is introduced, and we meet our second meta moment as Aubrey Plaza breaks the fourth wall as Grumpy Cat to remind everyone that the actress who plays Chrystal is given second billing in the movie under herself.
Well, obviously. It’s clear that Lifetime used up most of their budget on Aubrey Plaza because no one in this movie, save the mall manager who had a very brief stint on Supernatural, is even remotely recognizable.
Anyway, Chrystal is a 12-year-old girl who is new at school, having just moved to the area after her parents divorce. She doesn’t have any friends so she hangs out at the mall where her mom works as a waitress in a restaurant and at one point runs into a group of girls from her class who are cartoonishly mean to her. A B-story is also briefly established hinting at a possible romance between Chrystal’s mom and a dude named Jesse who works as an elf in the mall holiday display.
Another B-story is introduced involving two dumb rock dudes, one with long blonde hair and one with short brown hair, who are shopping for an engagement ring and want to see the biggest one in the store. As it turns out, they’re just scouting the place to rob it, but pass by a television crew interviewing Mr. Crabtree about his “million dollar dog” and are soon setting their sights on a different target.
It’s at this point in the movie that Chrystal, dejected from the little bitches she goes to school with, meets a strange man wearing a Santa costume. In the first of many poor decisions, Chrystal’s mom apparently never told her not to talk to strange men so she forges a conversation with the mall Santa who tells her he’s visiting from the Westbrook Mall to fill in for the regular Santa who is off picking his mom up from the airport. Definitely Not A Child Molester Santa gives Chrystal a “Magical Christmas Coin,” which he tells her to throw into a fountain and make a wish. OMG! Then he calls her by name, even though they just met! That might also be disconcerting if this weren’t a family movie.
[Commercial break: Grumpy Cat is featured in a Friskies commercial about “It’s hard to be a cat at Christmas,” seen eating a bowl of Friskies wet food. LOL, like Grumpy Cat eats grocery store cat food — although that’s the smallest of the beliefs that need to be suspended during this production.]
We’re back shortly after a message from Grumpy Cat to be sure to live tweet the movie using the hashtag #WorstChristmasEver. Having made her wish to “meet a friend,” with the coin the thankfully non-predator Santa gave her, Chrystal heads over to Whiskers where she volunteers. You guys aren’t even going to believe this, but now Chrystal can HEAR GRUMPY CAT TALK. This is a surprise to both parties, as Grumpy Cat repeatedly calls Chrystal a witch.
Mr. Crabtree also tells Chrystal about his plan to save the store with his million dollar dog and Chrystal’s bitchy classmates catch her talking to Grumpy Cat, which is probably not going to improve her standing on the social ladder anytime soon.
Chrystal suddenly rushes back to the mall holiday display and the returning normal Santa tells her that he wouldn’t be picking his mother up at the airport because he lives with her, and furthermore the Westbrook Mall closed down years ago. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SH*TTING ME RIGHT NOW.
Anyway, Chrystal’s mom takes her to Jesse’s Christmas party, who surprisingly lives in a pretty nice house for someone who works as a mall Elf. I’ll just assume he’s a venture capitalist the other eleven months of the year. Chrystal is like, totally not having this lame party, so she peaces out to go break into the mall to find Grumpy Cat and figure out why she can talk to the feline.
Chrystal isn’t the only one breaking into the mall, as the two rocker dudes from before — I’ll just call them “Frick” and “Frack” because I don’t know their character names — overtake George, the head of mall security, by securing him with duct tape after threatening to pepper spray him in the face. Then they remove their masks before even leaving the room, so . . . So much for anonymity. Good thing I guess there are no security cameras in this mall!
The rocker dudes come for the dog, which isn’t being guarded or monitored at all whatsoever despite his extreme value, and Chrystal witnesses the crime. How do these guys plan to sell this dog anyway? Seems like it would be a pretty niche market if you don’t already have a buyer lined up. Anyway, Chrystal is not able to call the cops because “they cut the lines” and she’s apparently the only 12-year-old girl in the United States without her own cell phone. So she and Grumpy Cat decide to thwart the robbers on their own by stealing their car keys, which they conveniently had left at the scene of the crime. Grumpy Cat only begrudgingly goes along with this plan after she realizes that she’ll be homeless if the store goes out of business.
When they return for their keys the robbers realize that someone has taken them, and also that Grumpy Cat has also gone missing. They chase Chrystal and Grumpy Cat to the mall holiday display, which Chrystal somehow turns on, and then they flee into a sporting goods store. The robbers follow the pair into the sporting goods store, and Grumpy Cat promptly manages to knock over a display rack, which crashes to the ground. I honestly don’t know who is more incompetent here: Chrystal and Grumpy Cat for being the absolute worst at hiding in a huge mall, or the robbers for not being able to catch a 12-year-old girl and a cat who are drawing a ridiculous amount of attention to themselves.
That’s totally OK though, because this leads to hands down the best scene in the movie (also featured in the trailer) of Grumpy Cat firing a paintball gun. Your previous sins are absolved, Grumpy Cat movie.
Chrystal sure is causing a lot of destruction to other parts of the mall, though, all to save the pet store. Oh well! Blonde-haired robber grabs a bow and arrow, but before this movie can take a turn for the dark he immediately shoots himself in the foot with it. The million dollar dog has by now run off and is just wandering around the store when he encounters the mall manager, who stopped back for his laptop or something. He first gets mauled by Jojo the dog, who covers him with sloppy kisses, and then the two robbers tackle him, thinking he’s the one who has their keys. DID THEY NOT SEE THE LITTLE GIRL AT ANY POINT IN TIME? Worst robbers ever. The mall manager reveals that the mall wants to put the pet shop out of business to make room for a new chicken restaurant, so he’ll turn his head the other way if they want to steal the dog.