Piano-playing brothers, an ace female singer on call with the triple-A escort service, tuxedos and red dresses, and juicy dialogue you could stick a steak knife into. What's not to like?Steve Kloves wrote the screenplay for the lovely 1983 coming-of-age drama Racing With the Moon, which afforded Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, and Nicolas Cage plum roles; here, he makes his directorial debut with this three-character study that gives Jeff and Beau Bridges and Michelle Pheiffer equally plum ones, only the result this time is more than lovely -- it's positively enchanting. The offscreen Bridges brothers play the onscreen Baker brothers, a piano-playing duo who've never held a day job in their lives. One is average of talent and a content family man (Beau), the other is an immensely gifted loner selling himself out for easy money (Jeff). Their nightly gigs at dowdy hotel lounges and bars are attracting less and less customers, so they take on Pheiffer's naturally talented singer (who's "been on call for the triple-A escort service for the last year and a half") to liven up their act. And it does. Soon, they're getting pristine gigs and really rolling in the green, but an infatuation eventually develops between the singer and the less-attached of the brothers. Tension and jealousy and resentment soon ensue. Kloves' stories aren't particularly earth-shattering, but he knows how to write about interesting people saying and doing interesting things. His dialogue is both sneaky and sly, but also refreshingly naturalistic without ever coming across as nondescript; he has the gift of knowing how to frame actors and pinpoint the dramatic focus in a scene without italicizing it; and he's low-key yet visually astute for a talking-heads director (due in no small part to his wise selection of first-rate cinematographers -- the one here being the virtuoso Michael Ballhaus). While Boys doesn't have the sparkling vision of Kloves' near-brilliant (and severely underrated) Flesh and Bone, it nevertheless shares that film's vivid evocation of dailiness: Kloves is stalwart at making habitualness among the middle working class fascinating. And all three stars, giving performances of both dramatic and comical proportions, are flawless.Trivia note: Kloves originally wanted Dennis and Randy Quaid to headline the cast.