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Trading Places is a fun ride from Director John Landis. Murphy and Aykroyd play men on the opposite sides of society who are swapped over a $1 bet by the Duke Brothers. The trade changes both of their lives forever. Join John and Karen as they journey to Philly for part two of the Breakout Eddie Murphy triple.
Louis (Dan Akroyd) works in the trading industry as a commodious broker for Duke and Duke. He is a star on the rise. He has a great job, great house, beautiful fiancee and all you could want in life. Billy Ray (Eddie Murphy) is a man who has nothing. He is begging for a living, being run off by cops and arrested because of who he is, not for a crime. Enter the Duke Brothers, Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche), who are Louis’ employees. Randolph is a Reagan man and Mortimer a Nixon man. But both want to make money and care little for legality. To spice up their days, they make bets. They are debating nature vs nurture. So they decide to bet.
Randolph bets that if Billy Ray is given the right environment he will thrive and if Louis is taken out of his, he will fail. Mortimer believes it is all in the genes. Bet made they then take Louis to rock bottom. They cause him to loose his job, fiancee, house, butler, and friends. He miserable and taken in by Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis), an entrepreneur prostitute who sees beyond his shell and tries to draw him out. Meanwhile, the Duke’s get Billy Ray released and give him everything Louis possessed. Part of that is the house and Coleman (Denholm Elliott) the butler. Billy lives it up but soon discovers when the money and house are his things are different. He throws himself into the job and is a big success. His knowledge of people help him succeed.
Both men have discovered large sums of money going to Clarence Beeks (Paul Gleason). When they try to question the Duke Brothers about it, they are pushed to the side. Billy Ray overhears the Duke’s bet and goes to seek out a drunk and angry Louis. He follows him to Ophelia’s apartment. Louis is fed up and taken pills to try and kill himself. They take him to the townhouse and a doctor saves him. Ophelia, Coleman, Billy Ray and Louis discuss the bet. They want revenge on the Duke Brothers. The frozen OJ report on TV shows Beeks guarding the report. Louis and Billy Ray then know the Duke’s have paid Beeks to get the info to them early.
The group makes a plan to switch out the report. They then let the Duke’s buyer buy up. They have bought using the team’s pooled money. They then begin to sell. They Duke’s are ruined and and the team is in the money. We close the film with the whole team living the good live on a tropical beach. Even Coleman has a lady and a butler waiting on him.
Trading Places is a typical comedy from Landis in this era. It is not family friendly (drugs, nudity, and humor) for the sake of being an adult comedy. But Murphy, Aykroyd and Curtis do shine in their rolls. Louis’ fall and changes really feel genuine. Billy’s seem a bit rushed but still good. The whole move is a study of nature vs nurture, but in the end the movie shows neither can fully define a person. Both are a part of who we are and can be overcome. It was a fun and silly movie that showcased Akroyd’s buddy comedy skills and helped Murphy develop them. Many props go out to Denholm Elliot for taking the butler roll and running with it. He is a major British actor and truly versatile. He squeezes this movie between Marco Polo and Bleak House. I think everyone had a fun ride with this movie and it shows.
Thanks to Karen Lindsay (a.k.a. The Scarlet Cougar) for co-hosting this triple, giving Cory a well deserved break-well, not in this episode – :-). You can find her over on Gotham Undercover, Maid of Steel (along with John a.k.a. The Silver Vox) and Remaking History.
Add It To Your Library:
The movie soundtrack was done by Elmer Bernstein. Here is the title song:
Also from the soundtrack is the classic “Get A Job” by The Silhouettes:
Name That Movie:
The clue this week was: Boomerang also stared Halle Berry. Halle also appeared in this live action cartoon movie.
Which lead us to the following movie: The movie is “Flintstones.”
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