Trading Places

Rated R 116 minutes 1983

Rich boy and poor boy swap lives. The only reason for using a plotline as primitive as this is to give two improvisational comics like Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy plenty of room to maneuver. But director John Landis is so deficient in basic storytelling skills that he must spend hours explicating the most elementary plot points while Aykroyd and Murphy are sidelined. Like Arthur, this 1983 film re-creates a screwball comedy format and then eliminates everything but the crudest audience-gratification elements; any incursions into the more morally complicated side of the genre are quickly curtailed. Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche, as the two unshaded villains, provide the appropriate 30s reference point; Jamie Lee Curtis, a strong and intelligent performer elsewhere, here succumbs to Landis's penchant for turning all his heroines into busty bunnies. With Denholm Elliott and Jim Belushi.

Film Credits

Director: John Landis

Writer: Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod

Producer: Aaron Russo and George Folsey Jr.

Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Denholm Elliott, Kristin Holby, Paul Gleason, Jamie Curtis, Alfred Drake, Bo Diddley, Frank Oz and James Belushi

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