Trading Places is a light romp geared up by the schtick shifted by Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. Happily, it’s a pleasure to report also that even those two popular young comics couldn’t have brought this one off without the contributions of three veterans – Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche and the droll Englishman, Denholm Elliott.
Aykroyd plays a stuffy young financial wizard who runs a Philadelphia commodities house for two continually scheming brothers, Bellamy and Ameche.
Conversely, Murphy has grown up in the streets and lives on the con, including posing as a blind, legless veteran begging outside Aykroyd’s private club.
On a whim motivated by disagreement over the importance of environment vs breeding, Bellamy bets Ameche that Murphy could run the complex commodities business just as well as Aykroyd, given the chance. Conversely, according to the bet, Aykroyd would resort to crime and violence if suddenly all friends and finances were stripped away from him.
So their scheme proceeds and both Aykroyd and Murphy are in top form reacting to their new situations.
The only cost, however, is a mid-section stretch without laughs, still made enjoyable by the presence of Jamie Lee Curtis as a good-hearted hooker who befriends Aykroyd.
1983: Nomination: Best Adapted Score