Late in Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, a made-for-TV holiday movie based on the popular Internet meme, the heroine (with the titular feline in the passenger’s seat) drives a Camero in circles around the villain’s car.
That scene sums up the movie pretty well: Going around and around without ever actually getting anywhere.
The plot of Worst Christmas Ever is barely enough to fill out a half-hour special, much less a two hour extravaganza: Grump Cat (real name: Tardar Sauce; voiced by Aubrey Plaza) lives in a failing pet shop, whose owner is pinning all his hopes on selling a super-expensive dog. (How the owner can afford such an expensive dog when he can’t even pay his rent on the pet shop is never explained.)
One of the owner’s employees, Crystal (Megan Carpentier), is a 12-year-old who isn’t popular with the cool kids and is going through her first Christmas after her parents’ divorce, so when she gets a magic coin from a mall Santa Claus (who may be the real deal), she wishes for “a friend—one who listens to me and on whom I can depend.” And for her wish, Crystal gains the ability to hear Grumpy Cat talk and therefore has to suffer all the misanthropic one-liners and unfunny narration along with the rest of us.
Meanwhile, two nitwit thieves (think Home Alone, only dumber) plan to steal the dog when the mall closes on Christmas Eve, and it’s up to Crystal, Grumpy and the other denizens of the pet shop to stop them.
There’s also some nonsense about a bumbling mall cop and some romantic shenanigans between Crystal’s mom and a mall elf, but even with all that, screenwriters Tim Hill (who also directed) and Jeff Morris pad the proceedings out with lots of self-deprecating humor (mocking this movie, other Lifetime movies, holiday specials in general and Grumpy Cat merchandise) and pop culture references (to Batman, Murder She Wrote, The A-Team and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, among others).
This wouldn’t be so bad if Worst Christmas Ever were cut down to an hour, weeding out repetitive action and Grumpy Cat’s never-ending yammering (read in a sullen monotone by Plaza). Such a pruning would also have given the special a tighter focus on whatever audience this thing was intended for and spared the viewers some truly tasteless sequences, like when Grumpy imagines the horrid sequence of events if the pet shop closes, culminating in her being put to sleep (no, seriously), and a child molestation joke, in a Christmas special (no, seriously).
Instead, what we get is an unfocused, rambling, overlong, tone-deaf mess.
Turns out the title qualifies as truth in advertising--Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever really is the worst.