"Trading Places" with Aykroyd and Murphy
What would you do if someone made you lose your job and turned others against you? And it all cost him a dollar!
Well, that's how it goes in Paramount Pictures' hilarious comedy Trading Places.
I was in college in 1983 when this film was released. A year later, I watched this with my late father and sisters. It was one of those weekend afternoons when we would gather in the family living room and watch a nice Betamax tape (there were no DVDs then).
I enjoyed Trading Places so much that I watched it every night for like two weeks! It was simply entertaining!
The story revolves around two men from opposite worlds - the successful businessman Louis Winthorpe III (played by Dan Aykroyd) and the poor street hustler Billy Ray Valentine (played by Eddie Murphy). After an unpleasant encounter in which Winthorpe has Valentine arrested for suspected robbery attempt, their lives - unknown to them - are suddenly and manipulatively switched by Winthorpe's unscrupulous and stingy employers Randolph (played by Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (played by Don Ameche) Duke. The brothers use Winthorpe and Valentine as guinea pigs for their experiment, and whoever comes out with better results - wins a dollar!
People in the corporate world - particularly those in the commodities trade - will definitely enjoy this movie (set in Philadelphia and New York). They can truly relate to it.
"Trading Places" trailer
Every scene just seems so delightful and funny!
I like the scenes where the villainous Clarence Beeks (played by Paul Gleason) cunningly exposes Winthorpe’s theft, and the poor executive is immediately sent to jail where he has to deal with the rough handling of the cops and inmates.
I also feel sorry for Winthorpe in the Christmas party scene where, donned in a Santa Clause costume, he takes food from the buffet table and simply stuffs them in his pockets - without even wrapping them!
But the part that I love rewinding is the train scene where Winthorpe, Valentine, Coleman (played by Denholm Elliott) and Ophelia (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) thwart the plan of Beeks. I'm just so amused by the way Valentine - disguised as an exchange student clad in an African costume - declares an emphatic "Merry New Year!", much to the annoyance of Beeks. And I burst out laughing all the more when the likewise disguised-Winthorpe and Valentine perform some weird African school cheer! ("Boo-boo yah, boo-boo yah, boo-boo yah, hah! Boo-boo yah, boo-boo yah, boo-boo yah, hah!")
"Merry New Year!" scene with Valentine (Eddie Murphy), Coleman (Denholm Elliott) and Beeks (Paul Gleason)
Merry New Year! Ha, ha, ha!— Billy Ray Valentine
Valentine and Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd) doing their hilarious "Boo-boo ya" cheer
To this day, Murphy's classic "Merry New Year!" greeting has become a joke among my family members and friends every New Year.
And I like imagining myself as one of the characters in the stock market scene. As soon as Winthorpe hands Valentine the dollar, I see myself looking the Dukes in the eye, telling them, "Serves you right!"
Exciting stock market scene where Winthorpe and Valentine strike it rich while the Dukes go bankrupt
Of course, spicing up the comedy are the ruthlessness of the Dukes, the kindness of Ophelia, and the politeness of Coleman.
Unlike in other movies where the characters become unrealistically vindictive, I like Trading Places because it presents revenge in a comic way. There’s also a bit of The Prince and the Pauper twist.
Of course, I know that getting even is wrong, but the film tackles this on the lighter side, making it appealing to me. And with the perfect partnership of Murphy and Aykroyd, this movie will make you die laughing from start to finish!
This is truly a good movie to unwind with at the end of a stressful day.