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Trading Places (1983) – DVD Review

Trading Places DVD cover art


Written by: Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod
Directed by: John Landis
Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristin Holby, Frank Oz, James Belushi, and Al Franken

Released by: Paramount
Region: 1
Rating: R
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Rent it.

Louis Winthorpe (Aykroyd) is an up-and-coming Wall Street tycoon who is about to get married. Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) is a panhandler who has seen better days. Randolph and Mortimer Duke (Bellamy and Ameche) have other plans in mind for both of them. See, they have differing theories as to what makes successful people so successful. Randolph believes that people are influenced by their surroundings and Mortimer believes that breeding is what makes people successful. So, they place a bet with one another: They will have Winthorpe and Valentine will be forced to trade places with one another so that each can try to prove each other’s theories.

[ad#longpost]This is what a good comedy should be. It’s a shame that Aykroyd and Murphy don’t make movies like this anymore. John Landis directed a top class comedy about the battle of the classes that some say permeated the 1980s. Aykroyd and Murphy are both perfect in their respective roles and are nothing short of hilarious. The supporting cast is nearly as perfect as well. It’s a little slow to get going, but for the most part, once it is going, it stays that way.

The DVD is absolutely pitiful. There are simply no special features whatsoever, which I find odd: how hard would it be to piece together a commentary? Aykroyd can’t be that busy doing Charter Cable commercials–and Murphy’s not exactly expecting Pluto Nash 2 to happen. Or Landis for that matter–who hasn’t directed since 1998. But I guess we should be thankful they decided to make it a widescreen presentation.

In fact, it is for this reason that I’m not recommending this one as a purchase. I recommend waiting for a better DVD package to add it to your collection.

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