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The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

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1:34 | Trailer
The lives of two struggling musicians, who happen to be brothers, inevitably change when they team up with a beautiful, up-and-coming singer.

Director:

Steve Kloves

Writer:

Steve Kloves
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Jack Baker
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Susie Diamond
Beau Bridges ... Frank Baker
Ellie Raab Ellie Raab ... Nina
Xander Berkeley ... Lloyd
Dakin Matthews ... Charlie
Ken Lerner ... Ray
Albert Hall ... Henry
Terri Treas ... Girl in Bed
Gregory Itzin ... Vince Nancy
Bradford English Bradford English ... Earl
David Coburn ... Kid at Vet
Todd Jeffries ... Theo
Jeff Nowinski ... Hotel Masseuse (as Jeffrey J. Nowinski)
Nancy Fish ... Laughing Bar Patron
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Storyline

The Fabulous Baker Boys, a Seattle-based duo piano lounge act performing cheesy jazz renditions of pop standards, is comprised of thirty-something brothers Frank and Jack Baker. Older Frank, married with two children, is the controlling business manager, front man and sole programmer of the playlist. Younger Jack is the carefree one without commitments to anything or anyone, including women, he who has had a long string of one night stands, most specifically with cocktail waitresses. Jack's strongest commitments are to his aging dog, Eddie, and to Nina, the lonely adolescent who lives in the apartment above his with her single, constantly dating mother. Jack's commitment to Nina is because of her unwavering commitment to him. The Baker Boys' act is becoming stale and outdated, and as such their ability to hold onto what gigs they are able to get is getting more difficult. So Frank comes up with the idea of hiring a singer to beef up the act. After thirty-seven failed auditions, they ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For 31 years it's been just the Fabulous Baker Boys... but times change.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die fabelhaften Baker Boys See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,313,815, 15 October 1989

Gross USA:

$18,428,904

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,428,904
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack's apartment was actually a set created by Production Designer Jeffery Townsend. See more »

Goofs

When Frank rushes Susie to a store to buy an appropriate dress for her first performance, the price tag on the black dress is at the back of the dress by her neck. In the kitchen of the cocktail lounge, the price tag is at the side of the dress by her waist. See more »

Quotes

Susie Diamond: You're good, aren't you?
Jack Baker: I can carry a tune.
Susie Diamond: You're better than that.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Will & Grace: The Fabulous Baker Boy (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

I Go to Rio
Performed by Wendy Goldman
Written by Peter Allen & Adrienne Anderson
See more »

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User Reviews

Pfeiffer Great, but Beau Bridges Overlooked
21 March 2009 | by Chris_MiddlebrowSee all my reviews

The Baker brothers, Frank and Jack, played by real-life siblings Beau Bridges and Jeff Bridges, have presumably never performed with the Boston Symphony nor rocked on the stage at Woodstock. In the music profession, they are closer to the equivalent of bottom feeders, plying their trade as two-piano lounge musicians. Moreover, gigs in Seattle, where they are based, are getting harder and harder to extract from nightclub owners. Lack of pizazz is beginning to show. The brothers thus reach a business decision to audition for a female singer to enliven their act, leading to Michelle Pfeiffer, whose character is named Susie Diamond and looks every bit the name.

As even those who have not seen the movie may be aware, the highlight is Pfeiffer's show-stopping performance of "Makin' Whoopee" in a sleek red dress atop Jeff Bridges' piano. It occurs, as the trio ascends to better venues, in the ballroom of a getaway resort hotel on New Year's Eve. Pfeiffer won a Golden Globe and other awards for best actress, but Jessica Tandy won the corresponding Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy.

My vote still goes to Pfeiffer, and to Susie. The intriguing, charisma-challenged character, however, is the punctilious Frank, a devoted family man and manager of the act. Frank's pitches to his audiences, making segues from one song to another, are schmaltzy to the point of embarrassment, and yet he applies a time-honored work ethic to his calling, and construes the approach as professionalism. To his brother Jack, in contrast, it's just a job, the relative status of which may be what is life-grating and produces his usual sullenness. Jack would rather be doing a sneak-away stint at a jazz club than pursuing the everyday career into which he is slotted.

So... Pfeiffer is great. Beau Bridges, in her shadow, is more overlooked than he should be. As is the movie. Jeff Bridges rounds out the cast and has his moments. It's a good rental option for a New Year's Eve.


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