24 movies Guaranteed to make you feel Christmassy

December 12th - Trading Places

Trading Places Poster

Year : 1983

Director: John Landis

Starring: Eddy Murphy, Dan Ackroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliot, Don Ameche.

Trading Places

A christmassy film based around cynical exploitation and snobbery - cool. Perfect for Christmas then.

The films begins at Christmas two wealthy banking brothers Randolph and Mortimer Duke are engaging in a lively discussion on the debate between nature and nurture. They decide to make a bet on whether given the right circumstances someone from a under privileged broken background could prove himself to be a successful businessman, and vice versa that a successful businessman with the best upbringing and the best paid education would resort to petty crime if the circumstances of his life are suddenly reversed. They select two unwitting victims for their scheme - one of their most successfully commodity brokers Louis Winthorpe III is sharply fired from his job, removed from his grace and favour residence and framed for crimes he had no involvement in, whilst Billy Ray Valentine a hustler and a part time beggar, is given Louis's Job with the firm and also his house and man servant etc. Louis's friends soon drop him, whilst Billy Ray gain lots of new social climbing friends and enjoys the benefits of his brand new lifestyle. How will the social experiment turn out and what happens if the guinea pigs find out what has happened to them?

Trading Places could have been one of those archetypal american studio comedies of the 1980's albeit, the plot is pretty impressive (despite being based on an old Three Stooges movie) and in John Landis's hands it turns into a very decent comedy film. What does help is the impressive cast led by Eddie Murphy (when he was funny), Dan Ackroyd (ditto), a cute but overacting like anything Jamie Lee Curtis plus the superb Don Ameche, Ralph Bellamy and Denholm Elliot (as a steroetypical English gentleman's gentleman - a Jeeves). Ok some of the film is rather crass, but mostly its both very entertaining and pretty funny in places, but mainly it is a film that can be enjoyed without demanding too much serious thought from the viewer.

Trading Places the film is book ended by Christmas's but is placed at December 12th on our Films guaranteed to make you feel Christmassy (UK edition).

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