29. Trading Places (1983)
Director: John Landis
Writer: Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy
Quotable: "It ain't cool being no jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving."
Fun Fact: The male leads were originally set for Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, but when Eddie Murphy took over for Pryor, he requested that Wilder be replaced. The reason: He didn't want people thinking he was a Pryor wannabe.
The idea behind Trading Places is pretty brilliant: Two rich scumbags conduct an experiment that results in wealthy Caucasian square (Dan Aykroyd) nosediving into poverty and corruption while a streetwise, and black, hustler (Eddie Murphy) becomes rich.
The amount of social satire at that concept's disposal is infinite, and John Landis' hysterical goldmine of a film capitalizes on that potential without feeling too preachy. Instead, he takes full advantage of working with Murphy and Aykroyd at their best; they're so good together it's a shame that they didn't revisit their ebony-and-ivory chemistry multiple times, à la Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.
Considering that neither Murphy or Aykroyd are doing anything remotely funny these days, why not start now? Just as long as its not Norbit's Christmas With the Kranks.