Starring: Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Paul Gleason
Directed by: John Landis
Written By: Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 58 min
A wealthy stock broker, Louis Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd) and a homeless con man, Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) become unwitting pawns in a nature nurture experiment. The experiment, setup by Louis’ bosses, Randolph and Mortimer Duke (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche), tests how each man responds as their fortunes are swapped. Will Louis turn to a life of crime once he loses everything? And will Billy Ray adapt to life away from the streets to become a productive member of society? Each Duke brother has their opinion, and they bet a dollar on the outcome.
This is a really great vehicle for Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, who turn in superb performances as each trades places on society’s ladder. The premise however, while fascinating, is never realistically explored in this film. This movie is more interested in neatly presenting one possible outcome of the experiment, and then blending that into the movie’s main plot about insider trading. Which is perfectly understandable, as this was never trying to be anything other than a great comedy.
Watching each character’s rise and fall is hilarious, as Louis discovers the world outside his secure life of wealth and privilege, and Billy learns the real value of education and hard work. The movie loses some of its momentum once the nature nurture plot is uncovered, and the story speeds towards a crude conclusion. But this is still an absolute ‘must see’ 80’s comedy classic.
If you enjoyed Beverly Hills Cop, and Ghostbusters, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy this too. The movie is rated R due to language and some nudity.
This film will work best with a HD viewing at home on your nice big TV. This is also watchable on your laptop, tablet or phone.
I loved the Clarence Beeks (Paul Gleason) character. Rude, foul-mouthed, and incredibly direct. He’s a minor character in the story, but occasionally steals the show with the small amount of material he has to work with.
“Hey. Back off! I’ll rip out your eyes and piss on your brain.”