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Trading Places (1983)

Eddie Murphy in Trading Places

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Director: John Landis
Dan Aykroyd ... Louis Winthorpe III
Eddie Murphy ... Billy Ray Valentine
Ralph Bellamy ... Randolph Duke
Don Ameche ... Mortimer Duke
Denholm Elliott ... Coleman
Jamie Lee Curtis ... Ophelia
Kristin Holby ... Penelope Witherspoon
Paul Gleason ... Clarence Beeks
Alfred Drake ... President of Exchange
Bo Diddley ... Pawnbroker
Frank Oz ... Corrupt cop
James Belushi ... Harvey

Trading Places Review

In this crowd-pleasing 1983 comedy of high finance about a homeless con artist who becomes a Wall Street robber baron, Eddie Murphy consolidated the success of his startling debut in the previous year's 48 Hours and polished his slick-winner persona. The turnabout begins with an argument between super-rich siblings, played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche: Are captains of industry, they wonder, born or made? To settle the issue, the meanies construct a cruel experiment in social Darwinism.

Preppie commodities trader Dan Aykroyd (perfectly cast) is stripped of all his worldly goods and expelled from the firm, and Murphy's smelly derelict is appointed to take his place, graduating to tailored suits and a world-class harem in record time. Eventually the two men team up to teach the nasty old manipulators a lesson, cornering the market in frozen orange juice futures in the process. Director John Landis (The Blues Brothers) doesn't have the world's lightest touch, but he hits most of the jokes hard and quite a few of them pay off. Trading Places is also a landmark film for fans of Jamie Lee Curtis. -- David Chute

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