6.8/10
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81 user 32 critic

The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

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

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ellie Raab ...
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Lloyd
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Charlie
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Ray
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Henry
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Girl in Bed
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Vince Nancy
Bradford English ...
Earl
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Kid at Vet
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Theo
Gregory James ...
Hotel Masseuse (as Jeffrey J. Nowinski)
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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 The Baker Boys' act is becoming stale and outdated, and as such their ability to hold onto what gigs they are able to get is getting more difficult.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:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

13 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die fabelhaften Baker Boys  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$16,823,529
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Beau Bridges was not balding, but the script called for him to have a bald spot as Frank. In a 2014 interview, it was revealed that Jeff cut the bald spot into Beau's hair. Jeff explained, "So he let me - we had a couple of glasses of wine - and he allowed me to cut the bald patch on the back of his head." "Stupid move," Beau shot back. See more »

Goofs

When the little girl comes in through the window and tells Susie she "came down to walk Eddie", she goes out the door without the dog leash. The leash is clearly visible hanging on a peg right next to the door. See more »

Quotes

Jack Baker: Frank, if somebody requested "Chopsticks," you'd ask for the sheet music.
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Connections

Referenced in Eastwick: Mooning and Crooning (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

People
Performed by Dave Grusin & John Hammond
Written by Jule Styne & Bob Merrill
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User Reviews

 
Even when a larger audience will see it, they will probably not like it

After seeing the rating for this movie, I'm convinced about one thing: the average viewer doesn't want good movies, all they are interested in is some cheap entertainment with big explosions, a lot of violence and shooting and if possible even more car chases. How else could you explain the fact that movies like "Batman Begins" or "Spiderman" and yes even the "The Lord of the Rings"-trilogy make it to the top 250, but a movie like this one doesn't even get a 7/10 (The actual rating is 6.6/10 after 4,563 votes). Am I saying that this movie belongs in that list too? No, I'm not, because it is a very good movie, but there are plenty of better ones. It's just the fact that I don't understand why people no longer seem to appreciate some very good acting and a fine story anymore.

"The Fabulous Baker Boys" tells the story about two professional musicians, Frank Baker and his younger, less committed, but more talented brother Jack, who have been playing as a piano duo in bars and hotel lounges for many years, but who seem to have lost much of their appeal to the audience. They aren't asked for new performances and they realize that something has to be done. They decide to hire a new female singer. During the auditions there isn't one who can sing or keep tone and they are convinced that they will never find one either. But then Suzie Diamond comes stepping in. She's 1.5 hours late, has a big mouth and hasn't got the right 'entertainment' experience (she has worked as an escort girl). But they give her a chance and they are astonished by her qualities. Together they make the act successful again, but when the relation between Suzie and Jack briefly becomes more than professional, tension between all three builds up and forces the band to break up...

Although I didn't know the name of the director, Steven Kloves, I was convinced that this could be a very good movie. The reason for that was because I knew that Sydney Pollack was one of the producers. That's no guarantee for success of course, but it sure helped me to get some confidence in this movie. And it has to be said. Kloves has done a fine job in writing and directing this movie. I'm sure that it will not appeal to a large audience because it isn't very spectacular, but what he has done with it certainly proves that the man has talent. He has written a solid, effective, but simple story without too many extra's and I really appreciate that. Also in his direction he has kept everything quite sober. This is 'just' a love story involving a small band, but it works and that's all that matters.

Of course he has been helped by his excellent cast. Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges are really very good in playing the two pianists, but it was Michelle Pfeiffer who had me completely in her power. Not only does she look and act very sensual in this movie, she sings like an angel. I knew that she was a very talented actor, but that she could sing that well, really was a big surprise to me.

Overall this movie deserves to be seen by a bigger audience, although I'm convinced that it will never happen. It lacks everything to draw in a big crowd and even when they give it a try, they will probably not like it because it's nothing special in their opinions. Personally I liked it a lot. A good story, some very fine acting, very good directing,... make me believe that this movie doesn't deserve a rating lower than a 7.5/10.


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