Writer: Timothy Harris, Herschal Weingrod (Screenplay)
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Ameche
Plot: A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.
Tagline – Some very funny business.
Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Wonderful, Though Dated
Story: Trading Places starts as we meet high flying investor Louis Winthorpe III (Aykroyd) who has made his bosses Randolph (Bellamy) and Mortimer (Ameche) millions of dollars, he is preparing to marry is long term girlfriend, life is good for him until he clashes with Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) a homeless wise cracker.
When the Duke brothers decide to make a wager, they decide to try and prove they can make Billy Ray as successful as Louis, but also show they can destroy Louis in the progress. We are left to see the two men adapt to their new lives trying to understand just what is happening.
Thoughts on Trading Places
Characters – Louis Winthorpe III has been living the life of with a silver spoon in his mouth his whole life, protected from any hardship as he rises up the ranks to be considered the very top employee. He is going to get married to the girl he was always going to be with until he must learn to live with nothing after being put in a bet. Billy Ray Valentine is a homeless street wise cracker that gets wrongfully accused of a crime only to be placed into a bet given a life with money, wealth and a job. He adapts to the new life like a fish to water. Randolph and Mortimer are two brothers that have too much money to know what to do with a resort to bets over people’s lives. Ophelia is a hooker that gets used as part of the bet to help ruin Louis’ life, she ends up teaching him about the right way to live with no money.
Performances – Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy are both wonderful with their comedy moments they both get to show different stage of their comedy from rich and poor situations. Ralph Bellamy and Dom Ameche are both good as the rich businessmen that work with money over anything else. Jamie Lee Curtis turned heads with her role here which people were not expecting to see.
Story – The story here follows two rich businessmen that put a bet on that they can switch the lives of a successful businessman with a homeless street hustler. This is shows us just how rich people can have too much money for their own good and their aimless fun can ruin lives. See the swap between the two gives them both a chance to learn a lesson about acting different towards people who have their own stories. There are certain jokes which just don’t work for the modern times because they go into race related that wouldn’t stand up now. For the important message that the two learn is the highlight of the film.
Comedy – The comedy in the film shows how Aykroyd and Murphy were on the top of their game in this decade, we get both sides of their skills to rather than just sticking to a solo character.
Settings – The film is mostly set in New York, for the 80s this was perfect because of the investment game that was going on at the time and still is.
Final Thoughts – This is a great 80s comedy that hits nearly all the jokes, shows two performers at their best in the comedy world and teaches a good life lesson.
Overall: Classic 80s comedy.