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Trading Places
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Reviews & Ratings for
Trading Places More at IMDbPro »

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71 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

Hugely funny film - Eddie Murphy's finest moment

10/10
Author: stephen-156 from London, England
21 December 2000

Right from the opening credits, this film shows quality. It stands above other comedies due to the lack of filler material - every line is memorable. The cast is great; the two leads make the most of their characters (both as brokers and bums) but never overstep the mark, thanks partly to the tight editing. The plot becomes a little bizarre, but by that time you're already hooked, and the ending of the film is pure joy. To my mind, no recent comedy has been this good; it mixes high and low brow jokes without resorting to toilet humour, it doesn't pull any punches (spot the social commentary), the performances are masterful and the script achieves depth without sacrificing the one-liners or slowing the pace.

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52 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Murphy and Aykroyd at their best

7/10
Author: B. Caesar Cubillos (CubeJack@aol.com) from El Paso, TX
11 December 2005

Could this movie honestly have been any more funny? I saw it again, as I have repeatedly for years, and still laughed. My new son had never seen it before and liked it as well. Murphy was at the top of his game back then and Aykroyd is the perfect snob-class elitist. Some of these jokes are so timeless that I still refer to them from time-to-time and they STILL get laughs, both from people who have and haven't seen this film.

Yes, the jokes are a bit dated and somewhat slapstick, but this was a sign of the times. Most 80s comedies were full of slapstick moments. Jamie Lee Curtis was at the height of her sexy image and I'd forgotten how well she'd played her role. The late Don Ameche is so animated that it played perfectly into the mood of the film.

You can find this film in the bargain bin of most stores these days. I saw it for sale for only $5.50. It's worth owning.

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54 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Hilarious... best movie either Ackroyd or Murphy have done.

10/10
Author: the-jerk from Newark, DE
3 May 2005

I skimmed over the comments to this movie and was heartened to see that so many people love it like I do. It just doesn't seem to be considered by the mainstream to be in the same league as, say, "Beverly Hills Cop" or "Coming to America" when talking about Eddie Murphy's movies, but the fact is that this is hands down his funniest part ever. And Dan Ackroyd is equally hilarious as the (at first) repulsively elitist Louis Winthorpe III. Add the stellar supporting cast, particularly Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as the Dukes, Paul Gleason as the slimy Clarence Beeks, Jamie Lee Curtis as Ophelia, your standard hooker with a heart of gold (rarely done as well as here), and Denholm Elliott as Coleman the butler, and you hit a rich vein of comedy gold.

The plot is a classic farce situation. The Duke brothers, who clearly feel they are above everybody else, make a bet, for one dollar, over whether anybody regardless of breeding can, in the right environment, become an upper-crust gentleman. So as an experiment to see which one is right, they work circumstances so that the rich Louis Winthorpe III is turned into a miserly bum, while they have Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) take his place. He takes over Louis's job, his house, and his standing in the community. Realistic? Well, no, not really, but this is a farce, so it doesn't really have to be. It is, however, hilarious, which is exactly what a farce should be.

If there's a running theme in this movie, it is 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. We see this happen not only with the two main characters in the basic plot, but also with Billy Ray pretending to be a Vietnam veteran, then a karate master; Louis, who despite all appearances as a wimp, claims to have stood up to Billy Ray during their earliest encounter in the movie, when he actually hands Billy Ray his suitcase, setting him up for an arrest, when he was not actually trying to steal anything; Ophelia, who for a price pretends to know Louis outside the police station, further besmirching his name; all three plus Coleman, who each dresses up as a different hilarious ethnic character to trick Clarence Beeks; and Beeks, who in a subsequent scene is mistaken for an actual gorilla because he's wearing a costume (Al Franken and Tom Davis as the baggage handlers, marveling over how human the "gorilla" appears, are priceless).

Eventually, Billy Ray finds out what is going on, and gets together with Louis to turn the tables on the Dukes. Ophelia (who has fallen for Louis) and Coleman (who feels guilty and used over his part in the whole ruse) help them out. Do they get their revenge? Watch the movie and find out. It will be well worth your while. This is easily the funniest movie either Ackroyd or Murphy have ever done (its only real competition in this regard is "The Blues Brothers") and to think this was originally meant as a vehicle for Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor is odd, because it's hard to imagine either of them in the parts done so well by Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy. John Landis keeps the pace going at a nice fast speed, and being a native Philadelphian, the locales and opening montage (including a scene of the Rocky statue) are a kick. But of course you'll love this movie even if you're not from Philly.

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45 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Great Early Vehicle for Eddie Murphy

Author: Brian Washington (Sargebri@att.net) from Los Angeles, California
22 June 2005

This is probably one of the funniest films of the 1980's. It not only is a play on the classic nature vs. nurture theme, but it is also a somewhat comedic commentary on the "greed is good" decade of the 80's. However, it is also a nice bridging of the generations as it features two of the biggest stars to come from "Saturday Night Live" Eddie Murphy does a fine job as con man Billy Ray and Dan Ackroyd is great as Louis. Jamie Lee Curtis is also wonderful as Ophelia. In fact, it was good to see her do something other than the "scream queen" roles which she became famous for during the early part of her career. She definitely shows the comedic timing that she would display later in her career and would make her one of the finest comedic actresses in film today. However, the one that really steals it for me is Denholm Elliot as Coleman. He delivers a very low key performance that is befitting for that role. This is a real gem.

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35 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Murphy and Aykroyd are Perfect!

Author: caspian1978 from Boston, MA
31 January 2002

When it comes to great comic films, nobody recalls the magic between Murphy and Aykroyd in Trading Places. In the early 80's Eddie Murphy was considered the funniest black comedian next to Richard Pryor. Dan Aykroyd was one of the all time great cast members of Saturday Night Live. Both actors started on SNL and were ready to make their career in films. Trading Places is an example of a perfect comedy. It is funny yes, but there is so much more. With its story, the acting, and the political, racial, and economical plots in the film add to its greatness. One of the best comedies to come out of the 1980's, it stands as one of Eddie Murphy's best earlier films as well as Aykroyd's performances as a character actor. A wonderful and somewhat good family film. If you're that kind of family that is.

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40 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Ahmwoonanawoonanawoonana-huh!

10/10
Author: Shawn Watson (gator_macready@yahoo.com) from The Underverse
17 April 1999

Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper has seen many incarnations from Disney to The Simpsons. But none have been as cruel (and funny) and John Landis' Trading Places, which proves just how funny Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy used to be.

Louise Winthorpe III is a spoiled, snobby managing director at the Duke & Duke commodities brokerage. Billy Ray Valentine is a poverty-stricken street hustler. Randolph Duke makes a wager with his brother Mortimer that the men can be successfully swapped . The con is on as Valentine is plucked from the streets and Winthorpe is ungraciously dumped on them. There's loads of fun watching him hit absolute rock bottom while Valentine quickly becomes spoiled and snobby himself.

Jamie Lee Curtis is the hugely-boobed hooker with a heart of gold who takes Winthorpe in while the always brilliant Denholm Elliott is Coleman, the unwilling butler caught up in the Dukes' evil plan. Once all four unravel the scam they team-up to destroy the Dukes.

Trading Places is crammed full of hilarious scenes, great dialogue, and funny cameos. Who cannot resist Eddie Murphy's foreign exchange student disguise or Ackroyd's Lionel Josef. Even the gorilla in the train is a brilliant character.

For those of you who love dark, cruel comedies Trading Places is utterly essential. It may be very 80s, but it never gets old. It's a must see and must have.

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29 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

A very entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended movie…

Author: president242007 from Australia
22 May 2004

`Trading Places' is one of the best movies and one of the best comedies that I have had the privilege of viewing and almost every aspect of this movie is done to the highest excellence and the highest quality. I have always considered that some of the most entertaining and enjoyable movies came out during the 1980s and `Trading Places' definitely falls within this category.

Everything is a success with this movie –the high quality of acting from both the main actors and the supporting cast, the wonderful humour and engaging dialogue contained within the script, the development of the plot, the music selection provided for the various scenes and even the atmosphere and scenery contained in the movie. Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd are particularly outstanding in their various roles –and keep the excellent performances up in their reversal of roles. Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche and Denham Elliot also provide their characters with a great amount of depth and dimension and make what would have already been a wonderful comedy success even more entertaining. The only very minor criticism is that Jamie Lee Curtis is meant to portray a prostitute in this movie. Jamie Lee Curtis is much too high quality of an actress for the role of a prostitute and I think if the emphasis had been on her character's profession it would have weakened her contribution to the movie. But thankfully the writers and producers recognized that she shouldn't be portrayed in a one-dimensional role and her truly wonderful and highly excellent acting abilities shone through during the whole movie.

The script flowed naturally and had an edge to it that made it both entertaining and intriguing. Even though the storyline and outcome was slightly predictable, the scriptwriters succeeded in keeping you interested and keeping you entertained as the sequence of events unfolded. The humour contained in the movie is genuinely entertaining and doesn't sound forced or strained in the same way that it does in some other movies. Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy make a thoroughly wonderful team and I hope they someday consider doing another movie together. I think the 1980s marked the high point of Eddie Murphy's career and this was one of the movies that cemented his reputation as a great comedian.

I couldn't recommend this movie highly enough. A truly great comedy masterpiece and classic.

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26 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Unusually good 80's comedy... contains a lot of sad truth

8/10
Author: Grann-Bach (Grann-Bach@jubii.dk) from Denmark
22 February 2006

I couldn't remember much of this movie when I borrowed it from a friend to watch for the second time... I can't have been very old when I first saw this, because there were not much more than one scene that I recognized. Even the title seemed new to me. Furthermore, I don't recall thinking about the film... about what it meant. This contains a lot of sad truth. The scenes of Aykroyd's character going from the peak of America's business life to rock bottom in a disturbingly short amount of time provide food for thought. Landis presents these events without pretense or heavy-handedness... he gives us the facts as they are. No bias. This direct, almost indifferent tone makes it all the more scary... this is the way it is, and that's accepted. The movie also has some insight to prove on racism and greed. Paul Gleason, whom I have only seen in The Breakfast Club(and Not Another Teen Movie, spoofing his character in aforementioned movie) plays a radically different role, yet still shows some of the authority he's famous for as the principal in The Breakfast Club. That was amusing to watch for someone who enjoyed said film so much. Jamie Lee Curtis bares a lot of skin, for those in the audience looking for that. Aykroyd and Murphy are both extraordinary. They get to play with their characters a lot, to great effect. They create so many funny moments, there are simply too many to list or for mere words to do justice; you'll just have to watch the film for itself. If you are a fan of either actor, you won't be disappointed. The language surprised me, with how uncensored it was, compared to today's standards. The plot is interesting, and based on an intelligent idea. The pacing is dynamic. The acting is all top-notch. The humor is mostly good and tasteful, with few but glaringly obvious exceptions(the fate of Beeks being an almost offensive one). The film has more heart than most of its kind... if you watch only one movie of this type, let this be it. I recommend this to fans of the actors and/or director, and people intrigued by the general idea. If you are even considering watching this... take my advice and do so. It is intelligent without being preachy and funny without trying too hard. John Landis has yet again created something big. 8/10

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25 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Good, well written comedy

8/10
Author: Stuart from Melbourne, Australia
12 July 2003

One of the best comedies of the 1980's, this stars Eddie Murphy in one of his best roles alongside Dan Aykroyd. The plot is great, a poor, homeless man who has resorted to a life of crime (Murphy) and an upper class yuppie involved in the stock market (Aykroyd) trade places when two devious brothers (Aykroyd's employees) have a bet. This is a very well written, well acted, and well executed comedy, that makes you laugh, but also grips you with a strong plot. Also has a satisfying ending.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

"I had the most absurd nightmare, I was poor, no one liked me. Phinellipe hated me, and it was all because of this terrible awful Negro"

10/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
22 December 2002

Trading Places, one of the best comedies of all time! I don't even know where to start on how great this movie is. I've been watching this movie since I was a kid, know that sounds weird as this is an adult comedy, but I actually loved it growing up. As an adult it just gets better and better each time I watch it. It's one of the most intelligent comedies mixed with some great slap stick and take on our society. What a great idea, take an educated man, take away everything he knows and owns and see if he could survive. Then take a man with no education, given the right encouragement if he would rise to the occasion. Trading Places isn't just one of the best comedies to come out of the 80's, but one of the best comedies of all time.

Duke brothers Randolph and Mortimer own Duke & Duke, a successful commodities brokerage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Holding opposing views on the issue of nature versus nurture, they make a wager and agree to conduct an experiment switching the lives of two people at opposite sides of the social hierarchy and observing the results. They witness an encounter between their managing director, educated Louis Winthorpe III, and a poor street hustler Billy Ray Valentine; Valentine is arrested at Winthorpe's insistence because of a misunderstanding robbery attempt. The Dukes decide to use the two men for their experiment. Take away Winthorpe's fiancé, home, job, money, friends and respect, frame him on a drug charge, will he bounce back because of his education and manners? Give uneducated Billy Ray a great job, beautiful home, respect and encouragement, will he turn hardened criminal into an upstanding citizen? Trading places, what a great idea if the boys only knew of the Duke's scheme.

Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy were just way too awesome together and had amazing chemistry. Their comedic timing is always on key. A mix with Jamie Lee Curtis and Denholm Elliott added much more to the story and jokes with their reactions and presence. My favorite scene with Dan was definitely seeing him exit the prison with his fiancé and Jamie Lee Curtis has been paid to make it look like he's her lover/drug dealer and her all over him in front of his fiancé while he's just shocked as Jamie goes down on him and to add it all he gets a hard slap to the face! Ouch! But you'll have to pause the scene because you'll die of laughter. Eddie's best scene is also when he gets excited that he could go to his low life acquaintances and show off, he throws a party and they trash his house and he kicks them all out was so funny the way he did it. What a classic movie, one that I will watch again and again. I proudly show this movie to my friends when they need a good laugh. This movie is a treasure to comedies, it's well paced and one of the best movies of all time. The only change I would have made is that at the end when they are on their own private island they toast each other on a job well done and since ironically they ruined the Dukes with orange juice, it would have been more hilarious if that's what they were toasting with instead of champagne. But it's still a perfect movie, highly recommended.

10/10

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