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copyright ©1999-2001

flick pick | Trading Places 1983
Directed by: John Landiss
Written by: Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod
Starring: Dan Ackroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis
Language: English
Look for it under: Comedy
Watch it when you’re in the mood for
something:  dumb but fun, totally 80s
The critic says: ½/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: / 5 

Plot synopsis Louis Winthorpe is the straightest arrow in investment firm Duke & Duke, a complete WASP from head to toe, the perfect picture of conventional success. Billy Ray Valentine, on the other hand, is his complete opposite: a con man who lives off the street. When the owners of Winthorpe’s firm, Randolph and Mortimer Duke, chance upon Valentine at their exclusive men’s club one fateful day, they make a bet about whether or not heredity or environment determine behavior. And they decide to use Winthorpe and Valentine in an experiment to settle their wager. The Dukes arrange to have the upstanding Winthorpe framed for a crime, so that they can proceed to move Valentine into Winthorpe’s former life. Each man is thrown far out of his element, and it’s an amusing scramble as each man attempts to adjust to his new life. Eventually, Winthorpe and Valentine figure out that they are being used as pawns in a game and plot to get back at the Duke brothers using the weapon that will hurt them the most: money.

Review Trading Places is the movie that truly showcases the considerable comedic skills of Eddie Murphy, in expert hilarious form here as Billy Ray Valentine. True, the movie has some moments that would be considered in astonishingly bad taste (racial slurs especially) if it had been made now, but if you can overlook that as the product of a less-enlightened time, Trading Places is actually a terrific comedy, that offers many laughs and suggests that the difference between the rich and poor lie more in circumstance than in actual human nature. While the plot to get back at the Dukes is so elaborate that it would only work in a movie, it provides some of the funniest moments in the entire film. Jamie Lee Curtis, excellent as the hooker with the heart of gold, and Denholm Elliot as the British butler, finish out the cast of this excellent 80’s money movie.
—reviewed by Jeanne Neumann

Jeanne Neumann is currently living in Western Massachusetts and working in Hartford, CT (the insurance capital of the world). She dreams of being able to afford to move to Boston or Manhattan and have fabulous digs there, also.

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