Zap2it November 25th 2007
Zap2it November 25th 2007

By Jacqueline Cutler

"I'll be home for the holidays” assumes ulterior motives when the person returning to the fold is on the lam.

In ABC Family's "Christmas Caper” premiering Sunday, Cate Dove needs a haven after a bungled grand-theft burglary.

We meet Cate (Shannen Doherty) as she shimmies down a rope to break into a mansion. She and her partner, Clive (Conrad Coates), bypass the rather inept security guards to steal a huge diamond. The homeowner returns as they are about to make their getaway; he abandons her.

Quick-witted and nimble, Cate manages to escape, but not before her photo is caught on security cameras and soon distributed to law enforcement agencies everywhere.

Meanwhile, her sister, Savannah (Sonya Salomaa), who could give Type A's a bad rap, is stuck in an airport on the islands. Planes can't fly because of a tropical storm, and Savannah's baby sitter must leave. When we meet her children, the baby sitter's needs become quite understandable.

Savannah and her husband call everyone they know. People would rather contract a disease than watch Parker and Annie (Josh Hayden, Natasha Calis). Parker is a juvenile delinquent, but not a very good one, and Annie is a complete know-it-all and rather grating.

Finally, with no one left to call, a week before Christmas, Savannah tries her ne'er-do-well sister, Cate.

Cate needs a place to hide, so this seems logical. Still, wouldn't the police consider looking at her sister's home? Wouldn't it make sense for her to cut and dye her dark tresses rather than just head to Comfort?

Doherty laughs when presented with these leaps of logic.

"It's ABC Family; it's a Christmas movie,” she says from her home just outside Los Angeles. "I am that moviegoer, and somebody will be sitting next to me and say, ‘That's not even possible.' And I say, ‘Yes, it is, because it's in a movie!' As a movie, it's fun.

"It's entertainment,” she says. "We are not performing brain surgery or trying to change anybody's opinion about the world. It's entertainment, and that's it.”

Once viewers accept Doherty's take on the movie, it becomes more palatable. Still, those who expect linear plot lines will wonder why her high school boyfriend, Sheriff Hank Harrison (Ty Olsson), does not put together the clues.

As Doherty worked with these two children, she became close to them.

"How adorable are the two kids?” Doherty asks. "She's 9 years old. She (Calis) is so good, and just the most respectful, sweet kid. My time on the set was spent with them. And when we had our lunch break, she came with me — the boy, too. They were in my trailer with me. We ate and played games.”