Grumpy Cat stars in a bizarre holiday special

Get ready for some morose looks and sarcastic meows with Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.

Two stars

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever November 29, 8 p.m., Lifetime.

Grumpy Cat is an actual cat, not a cartoon character like Garfield or Heathcliff, so subjecting her to starring in a bargain-basement Lifetime Christmas movie seems like a form of animal cruelty. But that hasn’t stopped the creators of Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, a rather sad attempt to cash in on the perpetually morose-looking cat’s online fame, with Grumpy herself awkwardly inserted into a predictable Christmas story. Taking place largely within a suburban mall, Worst Christmas features Grumpy teaming up with a spunky preteen girl (Megan Charpentier, doing her best) to save her pet-store home from a pair of bumbling criminals.

The biggest (and, really, only) appeal of Worst Christmas is the voiceover work from Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza, who “plays” Grumpy Cat via a combination of narration, dialogue and running meta-commentary. The self-aware jokes aren’t nearly as funny as they’re made out to be, and constantly highlighting how bad the movie is doesn’t make it any less bad. But Plaza’s blasé performance (especially her sarcastic meows) is often a marvel of anti-comedy, making Worst Christmas into a cross between a crass piece of holiday marketing and the kind of thing that might air on Adult Swim in the middle of the night.

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