Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Fabulous Baker Boys


I think this is the only time the Bridges boys, Jeff and Beau, have worked together, and to me it is just a little uncomfortable to watch because the on-screen situation has some parallels with the two real brothers. The Baker boys, Jack (Jeff) and Frank (Beau) are a piano duo who have been playing in bars and restaurants for fifteen years, and go back even further than that together. These are far from dives they are playing (dives would not hire a piano duo), but they are not as good as the venues they used to do. Frank is still totally gung-ho about the insipid music they play and the painfully phony banter he engages in. Jack is so tired of it all he might open a vein. Instead, he just resigns himself to his boring fate and closes himself off.

I don’t know what the Bridges brothers careers were like in 1989, but looked at today they seem much like the Bakers. Jack is the real talent, the artist, the wizard at the piano who could have a following playing the jazz he loves, while Frank is just another piano player. The act is all that he has. And Jeff is the big movie star, the award-winning actor, while Beau is just another actor. Sorry, Beau, but it’s true.

Their lives change after they decide to hire a singer to spice up the tired old act. After seeing a seemingly endless number of talentless broads, Susie (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up and blows them away. She is the real deal, though she has never performed professionally. In fact, she has worked at an escort service, just a small step up from actual put-your-money-on-the-table prostitution. It’s easy to see this is going to put a lot of stress on the act, and of course Jack and Susie get involved.

The movie has many good things about it, but what everyone remembers is Michelle crawling around on Jack’s grand piano and singing “Making Whoopee” in a slinky red dress. It is simply one of the sexiest scene ever put on film. Lord, that woman was (is!) gorgeous! Even if the movie sucked (and it doesn’t, not at all) I’d recommend it just for this incredibly steamy scene.