Before I get started on "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever," a terrible movie that I nevertheless enjoyed, let me clear up a few things about Grumpy Cat.
First, she's a she, real name Tardar Sauce, and no, I can't explain that, or its spelling. She is 2 years old and lives in Arizona with her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, and became an online sensation when Bundesen's brother posted her picture on Reddit with a caption reflecting her grumpy expression.
That one picture led to Internet memes, magazine covers and an "Official Grumpy Cat" Facebook page with nearly 7 million "likes." Grumpy (who isn't really grumpy, Bundesen has said) makes personal appearances, recently helping Macy's open its holiday windows in New York and San Francisco. She went to South by Southwest and signed paw-tographs. She has an official book and an official wall calendar. She endorses Friskies cat food. She Skyped in to QVC to hawk a plush toy designed to look like her.
What was left, really, but a Lifetime movie? (A Hallmark movie was possible, I guess.)
And so we get the broadly tongue-in-cheek "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever," making the first of many, many appearances Saturday night on Lifetime.
There's a plot, which any of us could have written in our sleep. Grumpy is a pet shop cat that nobody will take home because she's, well, a grump. Worst, the pet shop, located in a mall, is broke, and the owner and all the animals are about to be thrown out. His only hope is to sell a fancy dog for $1,000. Unfortunately, dognappers have their eyes on the pooch, too.
Enter an adorable little girl (Megan Charpentier) who helps out at the pet shop while her single mom works. The little girl (see this coming?) can hear Grumpy Cat talk! In the voice of Aubrey Plaza! But no one else can!
Plaza, who plays grumpy April on "Parks and Recreation," pitched in on the script, which mocks everything mockable about the movie, including the fact that it's on Lifetime.
Everyone knows they're in a movie. After one break, we return to Grumpy, in glasses, typing, "Terrible Movie, She Wrote." After a big fight in a sporting good store, with paintball guns, a British-voiced cat chimes in, "Sorry to interrupt, but we may be taking some creative license with what actually happened here."
At one point, narrator Grumpy points out that sensible action would have ended the movie right there. Of course, nobody behaves sensibly.
"Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" is summed up by an on-screen quotation somewhere in the tail end (so to speak) of the action. "Some are born to greatness, some achieve greatness and some watch Christmas movies starring cats," it goes. "I think you know which you are."
Clearly, I know which I am.
And Grumpy Cat, by which I mean Tardar Sauce, seems to know who she is, too: a cat picking up a big paycheck. More than any cat I can imagine, she tolerates "acting" with complete indifference, never seeming to hate or enjoy any situation. I like to imagine that, inside her head, she's thinking "blah blah blah idiots. Blah blah blah idiots."
'Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever'
Two stars (out of four)
When • 7 p.m. Saturday
Where • Lifetime