116 Min. | Comedy | December 1983
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Director: John Landis
Staring: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy
Trading Places Review: Trading Places was at first destined to be a Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor vehicle, but in the end we have Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd duo which is even better. Both were almost at the peek of their careers in the 1983. Aykroyd had the success of “Blues Brothers”, Murphy had “48 hours”. Both were stars at the Saturday Night Live show. “Trading places” is one of the best movies in their careers. The premise is similar to that of “Hoi Polloi” (1935), The Three Stooges film. Two rich guys are arguing about what matters most, breeding or upbringing. One bets the other they can take any bum off the street and make him a gentleman. The story about the Dukes’ cornering of the orange juice market was probably inspired by the “Silver Thursday” market crash of 27 March 1980, during which the Hunt brothers of Texas tried to corner the silver market and subsequently failed to meet a $100 million margin call. It’s also more than possible that Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper” was the main inspiration for Trading Places.
“Trading places” is one of the best 80’s comedies and comedies overall. The screenplay is rich with humor. There isn’t any dull or boring moment. The story has heart and depth. “Trading Places” isn’t afraid to make a social commentary about racism, prejudice and capitalism. There is one running theme in this movie – duplicity and mistaken identity. People are constantly being mistaken for something they are not or forced into a situation where they become something they are not. The humor mixes the sophisticated jokes with the not-so sophisticated ones, never resorting to cheap humor. The baggage handlers marveling over how human the “gorilla” appears are priceless. The last 30 minutes is not bad education about stock market. Extremely witty comedy, no poor taste and little obscenity, no slapstick. The cast is great. Aykroyd and Murphy have great chemistry together and they shine in their double roles.
In Trading Places, the supporting cast is also stellar. Who could forget Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as the arrogant Dukes, Jamie Lee Curtis as the adorable hooker with the heart of gold Ophelia or Denholm Elliott as Coleman the sympathetic butler. John Landis keeps the pace going at a nice fast speed. There is something about his direction that is very sweet and has a wonderful liberating feel. Good use of classical music too. Trading Places obviously stands the test of time, unlike some other 80’s comedies. In 2010, as part of the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act, which was to regulate financial markets, a rule was included which barred anyone from using secret inside information to corner markets. Since the movie inspired this rule, it has since become known as the Eddie Murphy Rule. Watch out for cameos from John Landis, Frank Oz and Jim Belushi.