Trading Places (1983)

Woof. On the one hand I’ll be the first to admit that well-regarded mainstream comedies from the 1980s often confuse me, as I can never quite ascertain exactly why they’re considered above the fray. This is particularly true of this Eddie Murphy / Dan Aykroyd vehicle, which somehow manages to reach a two-hour running time without delivering many jokes or amusing set-pieces, basically limping from scene to scene until the endless running time finally wraps up. There’s little to no character development for either main character, never giving the audience a reason to care about either beyond the fact that they’re played by Murphy and Aykroyd (although, referring to Aykroyd’s appearance here as a performance would be rather generous). It’s particularly galling that, for a screenplay that routinely subverts white racism for laughs, it seems to have no problem with Murphy’s rampant homophobia and misogyny: Women in particular are treated extraordinary poorly by the screenplay, functioning either as mean-spirited gold-diggers or “empowered” street prostitutes. Anyways, before I ramble more about how much I hated this movie, let’s just leave it at that: I hated this movie.

Rating: ★★ (out of 5)

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