Hello, reader of this review of the Lifetime film “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever,” starring “Parks and Recreation’s” Aubrey Plaza as the voice of the Internet-famous Grumpy Cat. You’re here because either you’re looking for in-depth analysis of a movie about a talking cat — or because you want to figure out if the film, which premieres tonight at 8pm, is worth watching.
If you were looking for the former, my apologies. But if you were looking for the latter, you’re in luck. Below, for the curious and unsure, please find a number of specific criteria that might help you decide if “Grumpy Cat” is worth your time.
If You Knew Who Grumpy Cat Was Prior to Seeing Commercials for This Movie
Maybe. I’d never want to say that because you once laughed at a picture of a cat on the internet, you should spend two hours of your life (with commercials) watching a pretty silly movie. But hey, you might already be a fan.
If You Don’t Like Cats, Or Animals of Any Kind
If The Concept of a Talking Cat Infuriates You
Double-nope. Especially if, when you hear that the talking cat can talk to humans because of SANTA MAGIC, you want to break things.
If Your Favorite Movie Was and Is Still “Home Alone”
Sure. “Grumpy Cat” at a certain point devolves into a bumbling-criminal caper involving two wannabe rockers, Arzt from “Lost” and a million-dollar dog. Slapstick antics ensue, to the level where you find yourself missing Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. Arzt does his best, but still.
If You Love Anything Vaguely Related to Jim Henson and The Muppets
Yes! Because fun fact: Grumpy Cat is not just played by the original Tardar Sauce, but a series of puppets designed by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. The puppet cats are actually really convincing. (It helps, though, that Grumpy Cat’s grumpy persona lends itself well to a lot of lying around on cushions.)
If You Don’t Hate Lifetime Movies (Some of Them Are Actually Pretty Fun, You Know?)
Yeah, sure. This movie is no “True Detective,” and Grumpy Cat is no Matthew McConaughey, but if you’re already aware of the quality level to be expected, it should be fine.
If You Love Lifetime Movies, Like, A Lot
Maybe not, to be honest. Why? Well, in an effort to be cool and fresh and post-modern, “Grumpy Cat” spends a lot of time making fun of the Lifetime network, Lifetime executives and in general putting down the quality of the genre. I am not trying to say that Lifetime movies are inherently good or bad. But if you’re very, very fond of Lifetime movies, and don’t want to hear a talking cat mock them for two hours, maybe take a pass.
If You Don’t Like Quentin Tarantino Films Because They’re Not Post-Modern Enough
Yes, definitely. About 75 percent of the best jokes in this movie come from Plaza’s dry narration and spoofing of tropes related to the made-for-cable genre, even in scenes that do not feature the titular cat she is playing. Lifetime definitely got its money’s worth out of her participation.
If You’re a Big Aubrey Plaza Fan and Her Playing Grumpy Cat Feels Like Divine Intervention
I guess. Plaza’s participation goes ever-so-slightly beyond standing in a voice-over booth and reciting dry bits, but if you don’t expect a lot, it’s cool to see her take her “Parks and Recreation” persona and develop it into a broader, more recognizable brand. It’ll make you slightly less worried about the fate of her career, following the end of “Parks” in 2015.
If You’re Allergic to Blatant Product Placement and Cross-Promotion
Stay away. I have never before seen a narrative film use the 30 seconds before a commercial break to plug the star’s official website, Facebook account and merchandise. It’s a Kardashian-level move that doesn’t play as funny as you might hope.
If You’re Aubrey Plaza
Nah. I mean, the check already cleared. Right?
“Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever” airs Saturday at 8pm on Lifetime.