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DAN AYKROYD & EDDIE MURPHY 'TRADING PLACES' FOR JOHN LANDIS

Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy in TRADING PLACES Year: 1983 Rating: ****1/2

The comedy classic TRADING PLACES was an extremely important vehicle for both leading actors and director John Landis since Dan Aykroyd, after the death of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and three-picture-partner John Belushi, got a chance to pull-off a multi-layer character with Wall Street to Skid Row businessman Louis Winthorpe while the then-current SNL breakthrough Eddie Murphy was paving his own way...

Having succeeded with a semi-dramatic turn in Walter Hill's 48 HRS, his brash, foul-mouthed and fast-talking, street-smart humor now translated into what's possibly Landis's greatest mainstream venture, ironically released sixteen-days before the infamously tragic TWILIGHT ZONE movie... 

Eddie Murphy in TRADING PLACES

For 1983, TRADING PLACES had conventional appeal without losing the late-70's edge that began with Landis's ANIMAL HOUSE and progressed into his musical-action-comedy epic THE BLUES BROTHERS: only here centering on two mostly separated leads within their own rags-to-riches/riches-to-rags story-lines...

Wherein Murphy's the downright funniest while Aykroyd, liken to his expository, thanklessly straight role in the following years' GHOSTBUSTERS, is intelligent, deep, even poignant, carrying the brunt of the intertwining class-oriented theme: where one man loses everything he's gained as the other suddenly gains that everything, practically overnight...

Jamie Lee Curtis, Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in TRADING PLACES

Yet it's neither a BLUES BROTHERS or 48 HRS-style team-up since Aykroyd and Murphy aren't literally paired until the third-act's overlong, overly-complicated sting on Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche's racist yet likeable tycoons (their popularity proven by a celebrated comeback in Landis/Murphy's otherwise unconnected COMING TO AMERICA)...

And for camaraderie's sake it's open-minded butler Denholm Elliott with Murphy and, last but not least, Jamie Lee Curtis as a surprisingly astute hooker named Ophelia who, before melting Aykroyd's heart, selflessly has his back...

Jamie Lee Curtis with Dan Aykroyd in TRADING PLACES

Perhaps if TRADING PLACES came out after CITY SLICKERS altered what kind of pictures garnered Oscar nominations, Curtis might have won — her character not only steals scenes (doubly contrasting Aykroyd's shallow debutant fiance Kristin Holby), she also pretty much  holds everything together...

Helping to make TRADING PLACES one of the smoothest/coolest comedies and, while Landis had originally planned adapting Mark Twain's CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT before putting a modern spin on THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, he succeeded in a distinguished class-act feature that works on almost every level.

Eddie Murphy with future Breaking Bad villain Giancarlo Esposito in TRADING PLACES
Eddie Murphy in TRADING PLACES
Louis's sexy yet shallow fiance Kristin Holby in TRADING PLACES
Dan Aykroyd in TRADING PLACES
One of Louis's fair-weathered friends Nicholas Guest from TRADING PLACES
Eddie Murphy breaking the 4th wall John Landis style in TRADING PLACES
John Landis celebrates the blues with Bo "Burnt My Fingers" Diddley in TRADING PLACES
Future Beverly Hills 90210 dad James Eckhouse in TRADING PLACES
Eddie Murphy in TRADING PLACES
Landis's See You Next Wednesday picture in TRADING PLACES
Ralph Bellamy, Denholm Elliott and Don Ameche in TRADING PLACES
Dan Aykroyd in TRADING PLACES
Lucianne Buchanan in "Look at that S Car Go" scene from TRADING PLACES
Hooker with a heart of gold Jamie Lee Curtis from TRADING PLACES
Eddie Murphy in TRADING PLACES
James Eckhouse in TRADING PLACES
Dan Aykroyd in TRADING PLACES
Eddie Murphy in TRADING PLACES
Ralph Bellamy in TRADING PLACES
Don Ameche in TRADING PLACES
Jamie Lee Curtis in TRADING PLACES
Kristin Holby in TRADING PLACES
Susan "And she stepped on the ball" Fallander in TRADING PLACES with John Bedford Lloyd
Duke Brothers Ralph Bellamy & Don Ameche in TRADING PLACES
Dan Aykroyd in TRADING PLACES
Kristin Holby in TRADING PLACES
Lucianne Buchanan in TRADING PLACES

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