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The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

Trailer
1:35 | Trailer

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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.

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 The Baker Boys' act is becoming stale and outdated, and as such their ability to hold onto what gigs they are able to get is getting more difficult.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:

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)

Gross USA:

$18,100,000
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

The first time Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges have acted in a film together. Some of the disagreements between the Baker Boys are based upon actual differences between the Bridges. See more »

Goofs

During the fight scene in the alley there is a crew member fully visible for a very short time. See more »

Quotes

Frank Baker: Okay, let's hear it. We trashed the Avedon, the Luau Lounge - what's our beef with 'Feelings'?
Susie Diamond: Nothing... except who cares? I mean, does anybody really need to hear 'Feelings' again in their lifetime? It's like parsley, okay? Take it away, nobody's going to know the difference.
Frank Baker: 'Feelings' is not parsley!
Susie Diamond: Frank, to you 'Feelings' may be goddamn filet mignon, but to me, it's parsley. It's *less* than parsley.
Frank Baker: Look, 'Feelings,' despite what you may think of it, has always been one of the bright ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

More Than You Know
Performed by Michelle Pfeiffer
Written by Edward Eliscu, Billy Rose & Vincent Youmans
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User Reviews

 
Enjoyable story, thinly plotted but very well made.
25 December 2003 | by Jonathon DabellSee all my reviews

Jeff and Beau Bridges - brothers in real life - are here united to play brothers on the screen. It's not the first time real-life brothers have played fictitious brothers in a movie (in fact, in The Long Riders several famous siblings paired up to similar effect). However, The Fabulous Baker Boys really benefits from the pairing. The sibling rivalry that runs through this film feels very credible and very convincing, possibly because Jeff and Beau aren't really acting but are simply using their real-life love/hate brotherly attitudes to fuel their performances in front of the cameras.

It's a fairly thin story, but well told. Jack Baker (Jeff B.) and Frank Baker (Beau B.) have spent years working together as stage pianists in various bars, hotels and night-clubs around Seattle. Their long-running act begins to run out of steam and they find themselves playing to empty rooms.... even their more established employers begin to express doubts about their ability to pull in the big crowds. They decide to hire a female vocalist to spice up the appeal of their show and, after over thirty awful applicants, they finally unearth a winner in the shape of Suzy Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer). Initially, Suzy provides them with a turn in their fortunes, but the future of the trio becomes cloudy when she and Jack develop sexual yearnings for each other. The problems don't stop there, with Frank and Jack slowly becoming more and more distant with each other as their views on how best to market their musical talents are revealed to be very different.

The Fabulous Baker Boys is extremely well-acted throughout, with Pfeiffer in particular giving an outstanding performance (she even sang most of her own songs). The main themes of sibling rivalry and unfulfilled talent are generally engrossing, and help to paper over the thinness of the story. Jeff acts rather moodily for much of the time and is very believable as a man working in the lower ranks of his trade when he could've reached the top. Beau is also in fine form as a performer who does what he does simply because it puts money in the family kitty. It's a hard film to describe, because it's not really about very much, but if you can adjust to the relaxed pace and just enjoy the leisurely development of the three main characters then you will come away from the film feeling thoroughly satisfied.


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