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REVIEW | Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2014)

8 Dec 2017

Soon after 12-year-old Chrystal (Charpentier) wishes for a friend or something, she finds she can talk to a cat (Aubrey Plaza). Together they prevent a dog being stolen. It takes 85 minutes.

 

 

Country: USA | Runtime: 85m | Director: Tim Hill

Starring: Grumpy Cat, Megan Charpentier, Aubrey Plaza, Daniel Robuck, Russell Peters

 

 

History is rife with warnings of what can happen when malevolent monsters assume control of powerful institutions. In 212 AD, Roman Emperor Caracella took advantage of the brutal mechanisms at his disposal to murder 20,000 political opponents in a single day. In 1553, Ivan the Terrible seized control of Russia and put its military to use massacring a quarter of a million potential, but reluctant, subjects. So why, in 2013, when Grumpy Cat signed a contract with The Lifetime TV Network, did the world not act? The alliance is in its infancy, yet has already produced a chilling indication of its intentions. Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever is no mere exercise in exploitation; it's a subversive call to arms for those who stand against creativity and imagination.

 

 

“Some are born great, others achieve greatness, and some watch Christmas movies starring cats. I think you know who you are. Meow.”

 

 

Grumpy Cat is a grumpy cat. That's the concept, the plot, the character and the joke. It's the hook that's intended to draw us in, the dramatic stake that's meant to make us care and the whimsical counterpoint that's supposed to lighten everything up. As a creative endeavour this is as lazy and wretchedly hollow as any I've seen. There is a plot about bad guys trying to steal a million-dollar dog from a pet shop, but it's a cynical afterthought and no more relevant than the Christmas setting, which isn't relevant at all. This is thin air packaged as entertainment, and Lifetime's attempt to trick we normals into thinking otherwise risks the future of cinema.

 

 So this just happens in every family movie nowadays?

 

 

The danger is that, on a superficial level, the film isn't as unwatchable as it should be, and that increases the risk of mainstream audiences being inadvertently exposed to it. The deployment of Aubrey Plaza as Grumpy Cat's voice is another sign that the sinister coalition responsible for this thing is attempting to reach beyond the dispossessed housewives who have hitherto constituted its audience. Instead, it seems to be aimed at children, which just makes the 'pussy' gags (one of which is telegraphed by repetition, exaggerated annunciation and the breaking of the 4th wall) seriously unsettling. But why would children be naturally drawn to a misanthropic cat? Why is that the vehicle being used to condition our younglings not to expect anything of substance from their entertainment? I can only assume it's an attempt to tap into the existential malaise that seems to be endemic among the young.  

 

 

“Jingle bells, Christmas smells, and it's really dumb,

well so are movies about Christmas, so I hope you all are glum.”

 

 

I said this isn't (superficially) as bad as it should be because, as a disillusioned cynical adult, I kind of like the talking animal star of a family movie being a miserable bastard. And while it's worrying to think children might feel the same way, the real danger lies in their exposure to the insipid, creative desolation at the heart of the film. Children should automatically expect to be drawn in and captivated by the wonder of cinema. Lifetime TV movies, particularly ones that literally stop to tell you when to live tweet about things a cat hates, are not going to captivate anyone. Of course, I could be taking it all too seriously.

 

 

 

CHEESE: 10

ACTING: 4

EXCESS: 9

INEPTITUDE: 6

WHAT?: 6

5/10

 


Urghh.

 

 

 

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