I don't know about you, but I love Billy Ray Valentine. Whenever Trading Places pops up on the boob tube, I tune in to watch the ebullient Eddie Murphy in one of his most uproarious performances and what could be his most deftly directed comedy. A penniless street hustler refurbished by fate -- and a pair of cynical Manhattan financiers -- into a Wall Street tycoon, Billy Ray does the whole Pygmalion thing with aplomb, replacing poor, snobbish Dan Aykroyd, who's now cast onto the skids as punishment for his pride, taking charge of his own life in his own way, and seeing the world, at last, in its true light. In time-honored screwball style, John Landis's comedy savages the manners of the rich while glorying in the wisdom of plain folk with sure instincts. That group includes, of course, Jamie Lee Curtis's whore-with-a-heart-of-gold, who manages to redeem even Aykroyd's unredeemable Louis Winthorpe III. But this was, and remains, Eddie Murphy's comic showcase. It's hard to believe Places turns twenty this year -- that wild party up in Billy Ray's crib seems to have gotten under way only last night. See this underrated social farce again on the big screen at Madstone Theaters at Tamarac Square, this Friday, April 18, through Thursday, April 24. For show times and information, call 303-752-3200.
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