Release date:August 5, 2005
Studio:Echo Bridge Entertainment
Screenwriters:Mary Walsh, Heather Conkie
Starring:Dean Cain, Laurie Holden, Tim Curry, Jennifer Tilly, Jon Lovitz, Angela Vallee, Murno Chambers, Jackie Burroughs, Max Baker, Eugene Lipinski, Sheila McCarthy, Kenneth Welsh, Leon Pownall
It's a dog's life, especially when Bailey ("Tango"), a most unusual golden retriever, inherits a billion-dollar fortune from his elderly mistress, Constance Pennington (Jackie Burroughs), an animal rights philanthropist. Bailey is a dog who can talk, but only to his shy keeper, renowned animal behaviorist/communicator Ted Maxwell (Dean Cain), who is named in Constance's video will as guardian and manager of Bailey and the funds. As Ted and Bailey communicate in the language Ted refers to as "Doggish," it appears Bailey has a lot to teach his human companion. And when Bailey begins his duties as CEO of Constance's Animal Rights and Research Foundation (ARRF), one delightfully hilarious "faux paw" leads to another. Constance's mean and spoiled nephew, Caspar (Tim Curry), a lawyer, and his vulgar and spiteful wife, Dolores (Jennifer Tilly), are running their aunt's beloved Foundation…running it into the ground, that is. They have misappropriated and misused the Foundation's funds to maintain their outrageously profligate lifestyle. When they discover that the hoped-for fortune has gone to Bailey, they plot to discredit Ted, kidnap Bailey and have the estate revert to them. Ted is immediately smitten when he and Bailey meet Marge Maggs (Laurie Holden), who works in the Toronto office of ARRF. A young widow who is the single mother of 12-year-old Samantha (Angela Vallee), Marge has instilled in her daughter a love of animals and a passion for social justice. Not only has Marge been arrested in the past for trying to protect animals, but she's also had Sam taken away from her and put in a foster home by the Hamilton department of social services. Marge's political past comes back to haunt them when overzealous social worker Don Donald (Max Baker) tracks Marge to Toronto and threatens to make more trouble. Sam's new school friend, camera buff Max (Munro Chambers), admires Marge and Sam for their courage and social conscience. The kids, as well as the Maggs' smart-as-a-whip border collie, Tessa ("Hannah"), become sleuths in a dog-eat-dog mystery. Unbeknownst to anyone, Caspar and Dolores secretly operate a surreal puppy mill in a warehouse behind ARRF, financed by embezzled Foundation money. Their hired henchman, Leo (Eugene Lipinski), stuffs adorable puppies, each sporting a blue or pink bow, into boxes marked "Waggly Tail Pups," singing opera all the while, as conveyor belts of caged puppies swing past him. Because Dolores and Caspar have drained the resources of the Foundation, the puppy mill represents their desperate attempt to cover their tracks and continue making millions for themselves. Bailey is now the CEO of ARRF, seated at the head of the boardroom table with Ted, much to the chagrin of Caspar and Dolores. It is also at ARRF headquarters that Bailey meets Tessa and they fall into deep doggy love. Although Marge likes Ted, Bailey offers some blunt advice to his human friend: get with the program and lose the geeky look, if he wants to succeed in love. Bailey gets a makeover, too, although he already looked doggone good. As Ted and Marge's friendship deepens, so, too, does that of Bailey and Tessa. Then something terrible happens: Bailey suddenly disappears! All the friends search desperately for the lovable pooch, but even Ted's uncanny ability to communicate with animals fails to uncover Bailey's whereabouts. Ted becomes depressed and unresponsive and Marge begins to suspect his motives. Not even his benefactor's loyal employees, housekeeper Peggy (Sheila McCarthy) and butler Mouse (Kenneth Welsh) can lift his spirits. As Marge attempts to keep the Foundation running, she stumbles upon the creative accounting of the Penningtons and, after confronting them, is summarily dismissed. Her problems compound as Mr. Donald continues to hound her, threatening to take Sam away again. But what has happened to Bailey? Sam, with the help of Tessa and Max, is determined to find out. She discovers a secret door at ARRF. The kids slip through and come upon the puppy mill where Bailey is caged and held prisoner without food or water. Now the kids and Tessa have also become trapped inside. Marge, frantically searching, finally finds them, only to be knocked unconscious by an unseen assailant just as Ted arrives. When Dolores and Caspar show up, Marge tries unsuccessfully to free the children. Leo and Dolores chloroform Marge, and she and Sam and Max are trussed up and left in the factory, as helpless as the caged dogs and boxed puppies. The next day, as Caspar argues their case in court, Marge engages the opera-loving thug, Leo, in conversation, as a diversion. Tessa and one of the puppies gain time to chew through Sam and Max's restraints. Tessa escapes and brings Ted. Marge attacks Leo, and they leave him boxed, his bald head adorned with a bow, like one of the Waggly Tail Pups. Ted, Marge, Sam, Max and Tessa rush to Ted's car and make their getaway! They're rushing to the courtroom but will they arrive in time? Dolores beats them to the punch, arriving in court with a drugged Bailey in tow. She claims that he found his way back to the Penningtons, and they are his rightful guardians. Just as the judge is about to award custody of Bailey to the gleeful Penningtons, Ted, Marge, Sam, Max and Tessa burst into the courtroom, where Sam reveals the truth to the exasperated, walnut-eating judge (Leon Pownall). Caspar immediately and vociferously blames Dolores, as the judge pounds his gavel and walnut shells fly. The Penningtons are arrested. Bailey, through Ted, appoints Marge head of the Foundation. Mr. Donald is sent packing. Bailey is saved! Good wins out, evil is overcome, and everyone does live happily ever after…on an idyllic farm…with lots and lots and lots of puppies. ARRF!