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You can skip movies 10 times but never go back.
A snobbish investor and a wily street con-artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.
John Landis's "Trading Places" is one of those comedies that, when it works, works fantastically. When it does not work, the film sags slightly. Still, thanks to its stars and the care with which the film was made, "Trading Places" is a sturdy and likable piece of work.
A riff on "The Prince and the Pauper," "Trading Places" follows Eddie Murphy's homeless conman and Dan Aykroyd's wealthy stockbroker as they switch places thanks to a bet placed by two old codgers. It is an appealing rags-to-riches, riches-to-rags story that culminates with Murphy and Aykroyd working together for comic justice.
Landis allows the film to take its time in getting where its going. "Trading Places" is never lean and borders on…
"Here. One dollar."
Class and race and gender and labor and no matter how many times I see this it's one of the greatest American comedies ever made.
Back in the '80s, there were two tapes that were guaranteed to be worn away thanks to endless pausing, rewinding and fast forwarding, albeit for two very different reasons.
One was The Omen, for the scene where David Warner gets decapitated.
And the other was this, Trading Places, for the moment Jamie Lee Curtis got her boobs out.
Oh, right, Eddie Murphy was really funny once upon a time. His upward climb inspires many more laughs than does Aykroyd's downward spiral, though both contribute to one of the most unabashedly (yet casually) leftist Hollywood movies ever made, which comes down hard in favor of Bellamy's thesis about environment mattering much more than genetics. Even more trenchant than Louis turning to crime in response to his deprivation is the way that Billy Ray instantly re-evaluates his entire worldview upon becoming a property owner; without making a big fuss that would detract from the comedy, Trading Places starkly illustrates how easy it is to become callous once you have something worthwhile to lose. Wish the third act didn't waste so much energy on stillborn gags involving goofy costumes (Jamaican blackface? really?) and horny gorillas, though.
Trading Places marked the start of Eddie Murphy's assault to own the eighties. In only his second film after 48 Hrs he would arrive amid a sea of profanity and endear himself to a public ready for a new comedy hero.
Trading Places also marked the end of John Landis's stellar four film combo that began back in 78' with Animal House and continued through The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf In London before finally crashing after this one. Saturday Night Live regulars Dan Aykroyd and new boy Murphy became comedy gold in this tale of scheming brothers and their personal bets about nurture over nature. Aykroyd, a wealthy successful broker for the Duke Brothers is thrust into a…
Trading Places is a movie that probably couldn't be made nowadays. Partly because of its brutally honest social commentary, audiences only like dumb humor nowadays. But on the other spectrum this could be seen as racist. And name the last racist movie to come out. No I'm not talking about some movie that has jokes on the level of "ha ha, he's black". I'm talking about a comedy that isn't racist just to be racist. It has a purpose, it has something to say. That's this movie.
It's also interesting how at the time both Aykroyd and Murphy were comedy royalty. Nowadays they're lucky to get a cameo. This most certainly adds to the impossibility of this movie today.
It wasn't very consistent with it's tone and humour but I enjoyed it. I really liked the more subdued Eddie Murphy performance while Dan Aykroyd tried a little bit too hard to be funny at times. A pleasant watch.
A frequent criticism I tend to have of movies, and especially comedies, is starting out strong and then having a weak third act, yet this movie was the exact opposite. The first two thirds were a mediocre prince and the pauper story with thin characterization, thrown-in artificial romance, making the bad guys gratuitously racist just for the sake of showing how bad they are, and formulaic plot tropes. But then the last third is actually a smart satire on the stock market, which I thought was smart and interesting. Why couldn't the whole movie have been about that?
Race and class. Edgiest film I've seen at film school so far.
Still brilliant all these years later!!!
No where near as good as Coming to America
Not enough Eddie
A classic in it's own right. I had never seen this before. While it's not hilarious, it's fun to watch. Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd give good performances. As well as Jamie Lee Curtis is who almost unrecognizable in the beginning. The twist that the bet was for a dollar is great. Good movie.
This was really good and talked about race and class in a way that would probably never happen today: funny and smart without being incredibly offensive to anyone except for maybe rich white dudes.
awesomely funny tale of reversal of fortunes
Quintessential comedy of a type that honestly would not be made any more simply because its social commentary cuts so deep and speaks to such truths that mainstream audiences wouldn't be comfortable watching it. All the players are on point here with subtle comedy that never really goes over the top (except for that ape bit which really seems out of place.) I enjoyed the first couple acts a bit more where everyone is dealing with the role-reversal story but there is something richly satisfying about the revenge story and the conclusion. Bonus points for being the first movie that I can remember to use the selling of stock futures as a plot point that pays off quite well. Really nothing to complain about here.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!