1983, John Landis, 117 mins.
A film about life-swapping.
John Landis’s comedy is an interesting example of how a film can change personality during its running time. The first two-thirds is an elegantly structured satirical comedy which charts the parallel rise and fall of Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. Then, during the final forty minutes, it changes into a screwball farce complete with disguises, silly costumes and a gorilla. Most people frown upon this development but I find it thoroughly satisfying, and its firmly in the tradition of the 1930s comedies which obviously served as the model for Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod’s script. The two stars are marvellous – this is before Murphy’s self-indulgence got the better of him – and there's great backup from Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott, Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche. One thing though – it’s one of the most badly photographed studio films I’ve ever seen.