Fabulous Baker Boys [1989]

Director: Steve Kloves
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Beau Bridges, Ellie Raab, Xander Berkeley
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 114 minutes

An inspired casting gimmick, a wonderful mood, a grown-up love story--all this in The Fabulous Baker Boys, but the only thing anybody ever talks about is Michelle Pfeiffer on top of a piano. Granted, it's a showstopper: clad in a slinky dress, Pfeiffer rolls around on the Steinway while she purrs out a languid version of "Makin' Whoopee." Adding to the seductive vibe is the fact that she's not singing to the audience, but to the sullen piano player (Jeff Bridges) whose fancy she has captured. Bridges and his real-life brother, Beau, play two lounge entertainers whose act has grown stale; they're not above doing "Feelings" for the tourist crowd. They've hired songbird Pfeiffer (who does her own sexy singing) to spice up the routine, a strategy that pays off in spades. The three actors are terrific, with the fabulous Bridges boys playing neatly off their own sibling rhythms. Writer-director Steve Kloves captures the feel of second-rate Seattle clubs, and Dave Grusin's jazzy score keeps propelling the film forward. The story itself might have come from a 1940s romance, yet Kloves and his actors keep it unusually modern and thoughtful. And then there's Michelle Pfeiffer rolling around on top of a piano.... --Robert Horton

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