on 6 May 2006
They don't make movies like that anymore nor do they produces actors & actresses like Jeff Bridges & Michelle Pfeiffer.
The movie revolves around brothers Jack and Frank Baker (Jeff & Beau Bridges) who are cocktail lounge piano players whose career has hit a sour note. They need a little charm and sex appeal to liven up their act - what they get is Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer), a beautiful, but hard-talking, chain-smoking songstress. The ensuing combination takes a ride through emotions, human nature & the lives of people in showbiz.
All that aside who could forget Michelle Pfeiffer looking as tantalizing as ever, as she slides across that Piano top in that slinkiest of slinky red dresses. The pause button on the DVD player is about to get a real good work out.
Academy Award Nominations: 3, including Best Actress for Michelle Pfeiffer & Best Cinematography & Editing. Golden Globe win for Best Actress & Nomination for Best Original Score.
Verdict: utterly enjoyable. It's the spirited energy that radiates from the lead performances that keeps this movie fluid. Pfeiffer especially is a revelation - and here's a part where she can do what she loves most, sing and act concurrently. Jeff Bridges also gives some of his best performances to date as her improbable suitor - together, they surprisingly, smolder in several scenes.
Rating: 4 and a ½ stars mainly for the piano top dancing. Just kidding, for being a superb movie.
on 24 June 2007
Before there was an Angelina Jolie, there was the luminous and stunning Michelle Pffeiffer, who could stop men in their tracks with just her eyes. In The Fabulous Baker Brothers, she does it all with her face, voice, and body in one of the most remembered renditions of "Making Whoopie," a hallmark performance on the par with Rita Hayworth's rendition of "Put the Blame on Mame."
A charming story of brotherly love, it features bachelor kuul dude, Jack (Jeff Bridges) and nerdy family guy, Frank (Beau Bridges),as a middle aged piano duo who have been a performing act since children. They play the circuit of small rooms in chain motels and hotels, cocktail lounges, and bars over 300 nights a year and have made a successful, if unnoticed living. However, with cuts to their expected schedule, the brothers realize they must make a change and take on a sexy vocalist, Suzy Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer). Suzy is a size 6, chain-smoking, foul-mouth, show-stopper beauty who cleans up well, and complicates the brother's ordered lives by asking for equal billing, and her photo on the marquee card. Adding to the dilemma, Suzy knows she does not like singing "Feelings" night after night, or "Bali Hi."
Jack wants Suzy for his own duet, but not the complications of a true commitment. Frank just wants Suzy to not swear into the microphone. The strain of a new member in to the daily grind on the road takes its toll on the brother's relationship, as Suzy's presence finally awakens Jack from his complacent attitude towards his life, and Frank, to stand up for himself and their professional career.
The real life brothers, Beau, the cute one, and Jeff, the hunk, are never more true to themselves portraying brothers, who long ago put their desires and needs on the back burner. These performances are subtle, mature, and nuanced and a joy to watch. Michelle Pfeiffer's presence is worth the price of admission if only to watch her writhe on the Steinway, and her vocals are her own. One of the better performances by an actress recognized for her beauty, she proves her chops and vocal talent with Suzy's quixotic mixture of tough-girl and model chic.
As a trio, the cast mesh and support each other as a musical drama with hi and low notes given the attention worthy of a concert performance.
on 22 March 2004
Michelle Pfieffer is at her sensual best in this movie as the gum chewing, swearing Suzie Diamond. The Bridges brothers also contribute great performances, Beau as the older, geekier elder brother and Jeff as the cool, chain smoking jazz musician stifled by his brothers desires to earn good money on the music scene and musical limitations. The movie has a smooth, jazz feel to it which is great to relax to and the onscreen relationship between Pfieffer and Jeff Bridges really sizzles and the self destructiveness of it is captivating.
Dave Grusin lends a score with a laidback, night time feel to it which captures the moods of the characters perfectly, and special mention must go to Michelle Pfieffers vocal performances on several classic standards, her version of My Funny Valentine is my favourite ever of the song.
on 17 May 2015
I'd pay to see Jeff Bridges reading the telephone-directory - one of the most under-rated actors of his generation, though becoming more respected as he grows older - so maybe I'm prejudiced in favour of this film. But the tensions between the two (real-life) brothers (Frank played by Beau Bridges and Jack, played by Jeff) was both engrossing and ultimately moving (and could possibly be an example of art imitating life, one imagines). Michelle Pfeiffer was utterly believable as a vampish, bohemian chanteuse Susy Diamond and hats off to her for doing her own singing. I love understated films which demand intelligence from the viewer and this is a fine example: Jack's persona is developed subtly and incidental characters, like the booking-agent, Jack's dog, the little girl downstairs, are introduced to further our understanding of him The cocktail waitress whom he casually bonks in the first reel tells him after the one-night-stand that he has "great hands" (put to good use during the sex act, one assumes); Susy, the catalyst who changes his life, appreciates the way those "great hands" play jazz and by showing contempt for his acceptance of the status quo, pushes him into rejection of the shallow showbiz he's hated for 17 years and rejection also of his brother's values. He also comes to realize for the first time ever that it's possible to commit to a woman and see her as something other than a one-night-stand.
A subtle film that pays watching over and over again.
For an adult love story for an older generation with one of the best jazz soundtracks ever set to a movie, The Fabulous Baker Boys remains a smooth delight, topped by the inspirational casting of Michelle Pfeiffer.
Its laid back sophistication is peppered with brotherly rivalry, catty one-liners from Pfeiffer and a smattering of humour, that all just takes the edge off it all taking itself too seriously. I always wondered why Beau Bridges was so called, especially when contrasted here against his real-life (as well as in the story) brother. Beau is plain, balding (running joke about using a revolutionary new hair tonic, in a spray can) and married, while a smooth and fresh-skinned - with Fabulous hair! - Jeoff, we see waking up with his latest sexual encounter at the film's start and is dashing throughout.
There's a wonderful predictability in the story that whilst obvious is essential as the piano-playing brothers, who've had the same act for the last 15 years, get the sack from their cosy cocktail lounge slot. Get a girl singer, to add glamour and class is what they decide and so the essential misfits and talentless line up to audition. Of course, Pfeiffer stumbles in late, swears, but, as only in the movies sways them and gets the job.
This is, of course the most sublime part of the movie; Pfeiffer, in tight shapely dress, draped over a shiny grand piano, Jeoff and Beau tinkling the ivories and the excellent Dave Grusin score ever achingly evocative and playful. But, of course, the frictions start to seep in and of course, the magic can't last.
As I said, the tried & trusted music/fame/film formula works well but is never obvious and we are left with an ending as open as the beginning, which is refreshing - and for the better. Any lesser film would have a sugary pigeon-holed finale that would raise the happy level but which would dissipate immediately after.
Though there is some swearing, this film doesn't need, or resort to adult material and in this day and age, this is like a breath of fresh air. Actually, the whole experience could be summed up as such, yes, a breath of beautiful, fresh air.
on 21 November 2013
This is the best movie ever made. It envelops you in the environs of the movie, whether it's the city, the venue, the peoople. The characters are fully rounded and thoroughly engaging. The main actors are second to none. The story is brilliant, the secondary characters add to the film without distracting from anything. You've never seen Makin Whooppee until you've seen Michelle and Jeff (Suzie and Jack) do it and you will never see it as good again. I've watched it over and over again over at least 20 years and still love it as much. The heart and soul, the music and the passion and the grit. This is just like a list but as far as talking about this film, the list is endless. Ultimately it is one thing: perfect.
on 11 June 2011
Watch it for Jeff and Michelle in their prime. Probably anachronistic even in 1989, this tale of the tense brotherly piano-bar duo and the slinky, very sexy cat amongst the pigeons is a guilty pleasure - a classic Hollywood plot given a late-80's movie makeover. Cheesy, though, it is not quite, and Dave Grusin's piano playing and Pfeiffer's singing on that version of Makin' Whoopee should almost be considered the standard take of the song. Watch it with your eyes closed and forget about Michelle's red dress. If you can.
on 29 June 2011
One of the classic films of all time, combining the exceptional talents of Geoff and Beau Bridges with an outstanding additional performance by Michelle Pfeiffer. This film must be regarded as one of the most enjoyable movies suitable for all members of the family. Excellent performances by actors with minor parts add to the character of the whole. If you like a good story, some excellent music and a film you will want to watch over again - this is real value for money.Cheri [DVD]
on 26 April 2007
This is a great film about too fading cabaret performing piano players who are also brothers. The younger, Jeff Bridges has real talent as a jazz pianist but just cannot seem to abandon his elder brother, in spite of the fact that he knows they are doomed to trudge on forever getting nowhere. When Michelle Pfeffeir joins them as the featured vocalist the sparks begin to fly. The scene on new years eve, when Pfeifer sings on top of Jeff Bridges piano is worth buying the film for on its own....phew!
Oh and by the way has there been a film where so many cigarettes have been smoked , surely not? All the players give great performances and the real life brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges use their off screen relationship to make their on screen relationship very believable. A wonderful movie.
on 8 May 2014
when my husband taped a tennis match over my VHS tape of this film. I will probably wear this DVD out from rewatching a much loved film. Michelle P at her best, the most romantic scene ever in the Jack and Jill bathroom, the sexiest scene ever on the piano (MUCH better that RG and JR in Pretty Woman), the best depiction of the brother's relationship. So many levels to what could have been just a 'dark' version of a rom com.