The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Its story is nothing special, but The Fabulous Baker Boys glows beneath luminous performances from its perfectly cast stars.

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Movie Info

Real-life siblings Beau and Jeff Bridges star as the eponymous Fabulous Baker Boys. Musical prodigies both, the Bakers have long been teamed as a twin-piano act, with the less talented Frank (Beau Bridges) coasting on the skills of his brilliant younger brother, Jack (Jeff Bridges). Their career dwindling to nickel-and-dime dates in second-rate clubs, the Bakers decide that they need a female vocalist to boost their popularity. They select auditioner Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer), who in addition to being a gifted songstress is drop-dead gorgeous. The newly renovated Baker Boys act scores a success, which is inevitably threatened by Susie's growing popularity and by Jack's insistence upon pursuing an affair with the girl.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language)
Genre:
Drama , Musical & Performing Arts , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
20th Century Fox

Cast

Jeff Bridges
as Jack Baker
Michelle Pfeiffer
as Susie Diamond
Beau Bridges
as Frank Baker
Jennifer Tilly
as Monica Moran
Terri Treas
as Girl in Bed
Gregory Itzin
as Vince Nancy
Ellie Raab
as Nina
Albert Hall
as Henry
Del Zamora
as Man with Cleaver
Nancy Fish
as Laughing Bar Patron
Dakin Matthews
as Charlie
Carole Ita White
as Bad Singer
Winifred Freedman
as Bad Singer
Stuart Nisbet
as Veterinarian
Robert Henry
as Doorman
Lisa Raggio
as Bad Singer
David Coburn
as Kid in Veterinarian's Office
Martina Finch
as Bad Singer
Vickilyn Reynolds
as Bad Singer
Howard Matthew Johnson
as Bathroom Attendant
Paige Pollack
as Background Voice
Jeffrey J. Nowinski
as Hotel Masseuse
D.D. Howard
as Bad Singer
Beege Barkett
as Waitress
Stephanie Ryan
as Background
Wendy Goldman
as Bad Singer
Stephanie Ryan
as Background
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Fabulous Baker Boys

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6)

The fun part is seeing it all play out, thanks to a standout cast and first-time director Steve Kloves' skill in handling them.

Full Review… | July 27, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

Much of the credit must go to the actors, with the Bridges brothers making a superb double act.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's a film specializing in smoky, down-at-the-heels glamour, and in the kind of smart, slangy dialogue that sounds right without necessarily having much to say.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

The Fabulous Baker Boys is like a beloved movie from the glory days of Hollywood. It transports you. It's an American rhapsody.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

A thoroughly enjoyable entertainment that should play just about everybody's strings right. Kloves proves to be quite a plucker.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

This is one of the movies they will use as a document, years from now, when they begin to trace the steps by which Pfeiffer became a great star.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Fabulous Baker Boys

The use of the real life Bridges brothers aids this film tremendously as they compete for the affections of Michelle Pfeiffer. Is it intentional that the less talented brother happens to be Beau who is truly far less talented of an actor than brother Jeff? It works.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

An alluring singer joins piano-playing brothers around the nightclub circuit. The highlights of this film are the performances by the Bridges brothers and Michelle Pfeiffer, who is sultry and has a fantastic singing voice. First-class direction by Steve Kloves also captures some beautiful images, especially Pfeiffer's character, Suzie Diamond, walking down smoky, back-lit stairs and the numerous nightclubs in which the threesome play. The film's story could have come earlier. The first forty-five minutes -- maybe even hour -- is essentially exposition. The brothers play gigs and discover Suzie, and they play more gigs and travel places. We get that Jeff Bridges's character, Jack, is unhappy, but there is no indication where his happiness comes from until the second act comes too late. Then, the film becomes about a man denying himself his own happiness, the excuses he tells himself to rationalize his fear of success or satisfaction. The film finds its center in Jack; from there, it's a strong character study, and Jeff Bridges give a quiet, subtle, and captivating performance. The exposition itself isn't hard on the eyes. As I mentioned earlier, Pfeiffer's singing voice and the film's musical numbers are great, especially for those who like classic jazz. Overall, the film has a mild structural problem, but the strengths of the film make it well worth the time.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Whatever minor quibbles I have with the story are completely made up by the remarkable chemistry of the three leads. The film is as smooth, slow, and understated as the lounge songs performed in the movie.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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