An upstart (Dan Aykroyd) has everything in life a young blueblood could ask for: a managerial position at a brokerage firm, a Philadelphia town home, butler, a posh limo, and a beautiful, equally wealthy fiance. That is until he bumps into a boisterous street hustler (Eddie Murphy) who is falsely accused of robbery, which gives the executive's conniving bosses an idea for a wager: Test the heredity vs. environment theory by reigning down hell on their subordinate, taking away all his worldly possessions and offering his position and goods to the con artist. John Landis' Trading Places is an uneven although amusing comedy that, despite some mild vulgarity, still has a cinematic quality that has been virtually extinguished in modern comedies. Above all, the film is notable for a truly excellent early performance from Murphy.
*** out of ****