BAILEY'S BILLION$ (David Devine). 94 minutes. Opens Friday (August 5). For venues and times, see Movies, page 91. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Partway through Bailey's Billion$ , Tim Curry moans, "I used to have tremendous potential."
No kidding, dude. From Broadway to Canadian talking-dog movie is a pretty weird career trajectory. As baddie Caspar Pennington, Curry runs a secret puppy mill out of his aunt's Animal Rights and Research Foundation (ARRF, get it?), which she has just bequeathed (along with her fortune) to her dog, Bailey (voiced by Jon Lovitz ). Bailey, his guardian, Ted ( Dean Cain ), and eco-warrior Marge ( Laurie Holden ) have to prove Caspar and his greedy wife, Dolores ( Jennifer Tilly ), are evil before a judge gives Bailey's money away.
The humour is almost entirely left to Lovitz, who does his dry best with lines about dogs' appetites. There are a few good visual jokes, like Ted jettisoning his glasses (Clark Kent morphing into Superman redux) and Dolores, who is on ARRF's board of directors, draping herself in fur and feathers. But watching Curry and Tilly snack on the scenery gets old fast, and a script that includes both talking animals and phrases like "Pandora's box" and "vernacular" is uneven at best.
Though the kids around me did seem to enjoy themselves, we adults expect better from co-screenwriter Mary Walsh ; Marg Delahunty's fearlessness is nowhere to be seen. And from here on out, Tim, make your agent use Spamalot's Tony Awards to your advantage.