Trading Places, 1983 American comedy, starring some of the biggest names of Hollywood, such as, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Jamie Lee Curtis, and many others, is a very funny comedy film, which, even today, continues to be very popular. Although it is filmed during the holiday season, it is not your traditional Christmas film. It is a very funny interpretation of the holiday season, featuring a drunk and disgruntled Santa Claus.
Dan Aykroyd plays Louis Winthrope III, who is a wealthy managing director of the commodities-trading firm in Philadelphia, Murphy stars as Billy Ray Valentine, who is a beggar and lives in the streets.
The movie focuses on the bet between Mortimer and Randolph Duke, who are brothers and owners of a firm Duke and Duke. Everything starts with a run-in between Winthorpe and Valentine, after the incident Valentine is falsely accused of trying to steal the briefcase of Winthrope, after this accident, the Duke brothers decide to make a bet on whether nature or nature is the determining factor in an individual’s life.
The main idea of the bet is that they will try to elevate Valentine from poverty, by giving him all the things that Tinthorpe has, and they want to know if Valentine will soon start acting as Winthorpe – wealthy, entitled, successful elite. On the other hand, by taking everything away from Witnthrorpe, they want to know if his nature will change.
Although it is a comedy, the movie touches upon many important issues. The film touches upon issues in both, trading world and every-day lives of people and how money can actually change the way we think, talk, work, etc. One of the characters even has a monologue trying to explain the consumer confidence index and justify his actions through trading, saying that it is in demand and people want it very much.
However, he did not really say much about it. If you really want the consumer confidence index explained, you will be able to immediately tell that most of what was said in the movie was a straight-up lie. However, this moment does not take away too much from the whole movie experience.
What is the main idea behind the movie?
The story behind the movie is not really a new idea, we have seen it many times, for example, Mark Twain’s Prince and the Pauper, but the thing about this movie is that it depends less on plot than on character. The difference between this movie and others with the same idea is that it shows off everything in a comical way, Eddie Murphy once again shines in the movie as Valentine and gives the audience a great laughing moment.
The movie follows the lives of these two men, challenged by their new lives, and shows how hard it is for both of them. Many would think that someone who was a beggar once could easily adapt to the rich life, but the movie shows that it is as hard for him as it is for the rich man.
In the end, the movie is a good comedy. The greatest thing is that it does not follow some pre-existing rules on how to make a funny movie, it shows comedy from a different angle and creates great laughing moments for the audience.
The acting in the movie is also very great, which we rarely see in comedies. Murphy and Aykroyd are perfect for each other, and they make a great duo. Also, the characters are very rich and full of personal intelligence and personalities, it is very fun to watch them together.
Also, the supporting actors also have been given very detailed personalities, instead of being created around stereotypes. Jamie Lee Curtis plays a hooker, which is a very funny character.
Why is Trading Places better than other comedies?
The movie is set as more of a dark comedy, which raises some issues about the socioeconomic situation in the USA and the differences between the classes in the country. The performances of the character are once-in-a-lifetime and in the end, it manages to be a super fund and great experience for the audience.
Trading Places has received a number of awards and nominations, from critics it was also very positively assessed. At the 41st Golden Globe Awards, the film received two nominations, including Best Musical or Comedy, Best Actor for Murphy, it also was nominated at the 56th Academy Awards, where Bernstein was nominated for Best Original Score.
Even after so many years, the movie still stands to be very popular and many people go back to watch it on holiday seasons, after so many years, Trading Places still manages to stay a funny and great movie.