Judge David Johnson thinks Dan Aykroyd and black face do not mix.
They're not just getting rich…they're getting even. Again.
It's time for another double dip with a cutesy name and this go-round the Eddie Murphy/Dan Aykroyd classic Trading Places receives the special treatment.
Facts of the Case
Aykroyd is Louis Winthorpe III, a well-to-do manager of the Duke and Duke commodities brokerage who has carved out a comfortable existence. But the Duke brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) are cruel employers and wager that they can swap Louis's life with that of a street punk named Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy).
As their scheme plays out, Louis is framed as a drug dealer, loses his job, his fiancée and his friends, and shacks up out of desperation with Ophelia the hooker (a smoking Jamie Lee Curtis). When Billy Ray and Louis eventually discover the Dukes' plan, they set out for some payback and hope to get paid at the same time.
The previous release of this excellent comedy left much to be desired (read: everything) in the extras department, so I can forgive Paramount for unleashing a second iteration. The so-called "Looking Good, Feeling Good" edition lobs in a nice selection of bonus materials and while no feature truly stands out as a kingmaker, the variety of what is offered earns this disc at least a second glance. Here's an overview:
• "Insider Trading: The Making of Trading
• "Trading Stories"
• "Deleted Scene with optional commentary by producer George
• "Dressing the Part"
• "The Trade in Trading Places"
• "Trivia Pop-Ups"
That's a handsome selection of extras supplementing one of my favorite comedies. Trading Places is not only a funny, career-making (Murphy was breaking into the film industry and Aykroyd was just as green) rags-to-riches-to-rags comedy, but also a slick social satire of the glorious excess of the '80s. Add to that a true, er, bust-out, performance by Curtis and we're talking classic status. I'd be willing to entertain an argument that this is Murphy and Aykroyd's best film. Although the gorilla rape scene is a bit much.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer holds up fine. Colors are strong and the overall look is clean. I didn't dig the 5.1 mix much, as it was front-loaded and shrill at some points.
Compared to the leanness of the initial release, this special edition of a classic comedy actually benefits from its double-dip status. Barely.
Paramount is guilty of habitual re-release syndrome, but this special edition earns the studio early parole.
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