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2 reviews, 41 user ratings

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Trading Places
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by Scott Weinberg

"One of the best American comedies of a decade that delivered plenty of them"
5 stars

One of Eddie Murphy's best; easily one of Dan Aykroyd's best; one of the most beautiful looks at Philly via celluloid...and, of course, that one famous scene with Jamie Lee Curtis and her overpowering breasties.

The good news:

One of the finest comedies of the early 1980ís has recently made its debut on DVD. Weíre talking about Trading Places, an altogether hilarious concoction that features Dan Aykroyd at his strongest, Eddie Murphy at his freewheeling funniest, and director John Landis at the absolute top of his game. Filmed in my amazingly wonderful hometown of Philadelphia, PA and featuring an stunningly gratuitous nude scene by Jamie Lee Curtis, this oneís pure modern classic through and through.

The bad news:

Itís a Paramount release.

Iím not exactly sure why the powers-that-be at Paramount Home Entertainment have such disdain for their customers, but Trading Places is only the most recent fan favorite thatís been delivered in a relatively unimpressive package. First off, no goodies at all. Yeah yeah, the movieís the thing; I know. Iíd rather own the movie than not, but weíre talking about DVD technology here! Find me a person who dislikes Trading Places, and Iíll show you the ONE person who wouldnít love to see some kind of retrospective documentary, a cast commentary, or a few measly deleted scenes. Heck, this DVD doesnít even have a TRAILER! Even Beverly Hills Cop 3 had a trailer!

Okay, gripes aside, I simply adore this movie and Iím thrilled to finally have it in my collection. Extra goodies are always nice, but the movie really IS the thing, and Paramount has at least delivered this fine Philly farce in a lovely widescreen anamorphic format.

The plot is a modern retelling of the old Prince and the Pauper tale; snooty yuppie Louis Winthorpe III (Aykroyd) is stripped of his social status, assets, and snooty yuppie fiancťe, while petty criminal Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) gets the opposite treatment - going from a poor street hustler to a successful and wealthy businessman. This flip-flop comes courtesy of two horribly ignorant rich old bastards who are out to settle the age-old nature vs. nurture argument. The initial role-reversal is lots of fun, but when Valentine and Winthorpe team up to exact some nasty financial revenge, things get exponentially funnier.

The leads are spot-on perfect, with Aykroyd capably handling the leading man role and Murphy hitting every punch line with uncanny success. As in all the best comedies, the supporting cast shines as if radioactive. Denholm Elliot is dry, droll, and quietly brilliant as a beleaguered manservant, Jamie Lee delivers one of her best comedic roles ever (second only to her turn in A Fish Called Wanda), and the ever-slimy Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club) steals scenes whole as a devious corporate spy. The crown jewels of Trading Places come in the form of Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche, who portray the nefarious Duke Brothers with an almost palpable sense of evil glee.

As in most of his movies (even the classics), director Landis takes a few unnecessary detours (horny monkey = not funny) and the manic brokerage finale is more than a bit confusing. But why focus on a few stray misfires when the movie as a whole is an absolute delight?

Iíll say thanks to Paramount to allowing me to add Trading Places to my beloved comedies shelf, but I smell a double-dip coming in a few years.

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originally posted: 05/04/04 11:39:07
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User Comments

6/03/13 Ron Great stuff! 5 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner This movie has some great scenes in it. 5 stars
12/26/06 johnnyfog Aykroyd's rich guy accent grates, but funny anyway. "FEELIN' GOOD BILLY RAY!" 5 stars
11/23/06 Josh Racine Wonderful comedy film. 5 stars
8/06/06 Chris Wilbik One of my favorite movies 5 stars
1/23/05 Jeff Anderson ANOTHER TRUE PHILADELPHIA CLASSIC! John Landis & his great, spirited cast deserve praise!!! 5 stars
12/22/04 Landshark Raise a toast and strike the Liberty pose, you've just pulled a Billy Ray Valentine! 5 stars
9/01/04 A upton A classic 5 stars
8/18/04 Siamese Toga Princess i luv u, dan aykroyd!!! 5 stars
5/05/04 Chris Allen this movie great! they dont make like this any more 5 stars
5/04/04 Jack Sommersby Flawed but pretty damn irresistable. Wonderfully acted by all. 4 stars
1/06/04 Monster W. Kung Eeehhh... it's ok. And Tatum, I agree... why the fuck do they play it so much? 3 stars
11/28/03 Samuel good one 4 stars
8/25/03 doug good 5 stars
7/13/03 Farnq Y when we wanted a jacuzzi we had to fart in the tub 5 stars
3/14/03 Mike FM Murphy's best effort to date. "Who put out their Kool's in my rug?" His best role ever. 4 stars
2/11/03 R.W. Welch Rather clever take on prince & pauper theme with nice casting. 4 stars
10/15/02 Charles Tatum Funny, but does cable TV have to play it EVERY damn day? 4 stars
8/03/02 Justin Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy are terrific! 5 stars
5/19/02 Dark BarÝn Pretty darn good movie. 5 stars
4/06/02 Justin Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy are so fuckin' cool! 5 stars
1/14/02 Big Rod Very good movie. The shots of the TT's freaked out my sociology class 5 stars
9/14/01 Butterbean It's classic how it turns out that those old fucks did everything on a dollar bet! 5 stars
8/26/01 Monster W. Kung Funny. Nothing special, but a good and light two hours spent. 4 stars
8/07/01 Joe Zappa I thought Eddie Murphy was very funny. 4 stars
7/05/01 TLsmooth JLC is a man. 4 stars
6/25/01 J An absolute 80's classic! 5 stars
4/05/01 Andrew Carden Manages to hold itself together, but for the first time Eddie's annoying! 3 stars
3/26/01 Mr. Money Hooterbags Good movie except the part on the train. Take that whole train section out and it's great! 4 stars
2/07/01 Turtle Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy are irresistibly funny! 4 stars
1/31/01 Tim Gee ROTFLMAO (except for the gorilla silliness) 5 stars
12/06/00 Cristopher Revilla it was good, worth your time 5 stars
3/30/00 Tim G. Hilariously funny, although with a few corny moments. 5 stars
3/24/00 Znarf Eddie Murphy is a comical genius. "Billy Ray Valentine... Capricorn" 5 stars
11/03/99 carrotan really funny 5 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob Infinitely quotable. Perhaps the best comedy of the '80's. 5 stars
10/18/98 Kwyjibo Nice hooters and Eddie really did peak here. Pity he's doing kiddie crap now. 5 stars
10/14/98 Chi-Fan Hu One Eddie murphy's best. 5 stars
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  01-Jun-1983 (R)
  DVD: 05-Jun-2007



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