'Lil Bub & Friendz' review: Cute overload! Enough charm for nine lifetimes
Kitschy documentary succeeds in making the already internet famous Lil Bub - who suffers a myriad of physical disabilities - more amazing, while doing her weirdo, cat-obsessed fans no such favor.
In short: Documentary covers how a disabled, sickly cat emerged to internet stardom, the complexities of meme culture and bizarre cat people. (watch the trailer)
No matter how cute or silly the animal is, a film about an internet celebrity cat would not work as a feature-length documentary. But 'Lil Bub & Friendz' works because it covers a lot of ground: Lil Bub's unlikely story of survival, why cats have taken over the internet and the sweet relationship between Bub and her owner Mike Bridavsky.
These three narrative through lines crisscross together to become part charming story of a unique cat and part unsympathetic look at cat people.
Bub's widespread meme fame is made more endearing given the very reason for her celebrity maybe the very condition that makes her life harder with each passing day. As she becomes more well-known, Bub becomes part of a booming meme industry, which has become quite the booming business due largely to merchandising and low-overhead costs. Bub's fame explodes as her health changes, which redefines the close relationship with her doting owner.
While this film is kind to Bub and the new industry of monetizing memes, this film pulls no punches when addressing the idiosyncratic nature of cat people. The rabid, t-shirt/bag buying fan base of memes come off as strange folk, with the personality of one 'cat video connoisseur' in particular likened to that of a serial killer. This is interesting if only because the audience most likely attracted to see a film about Lil Bub is also the same audience forced to look at a mirror revealing how peculiar cat people appear.
Oh, and there's a ton of footage of Lil Bub being adorable. She is also joined by Keyboard Cat, Nyan Cat and Grumpy Cat, who all make appearances in the film.
Final verdict: 'Lil Bub' does not take itself seriously, acknowledges the kitsch nature of its subject with its lighthearted tone while becoming oddly touching and endlessly cute.