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Sociologists have often wondered what matters most, environment, or genetics. It is nature or nurture that allows some people to succeed while others fail? In the movie Trading Places two elder gentlmen ponder this question and even engage in a bet to settle the debate once and for all. They scheme to take one of their top commodity brokers played by Dan Aykroyd and take away his job, family, credit, and credibility. Will this cause him to be no better than anyone else that is deprived of education and nurture they wonder?
While they do this they also take a man famous for his cons, schemes, and mouth and attempt to transform him into a man of sucess. This man is played by Eddie Murphy. Eddie Murphy moves into Dan's house after Dan is framed for drug posession and embarassed before all he knew. In time Eddie Murphy started to act responsibly. He took great interest in the house which is now his own. In many ways he acted no differently than anyone else of wealth. He even succeded as a commodities broker at the firm Dan used to work at. His advice becomes so coveted that people stop what they are doing to listen whenever he speaks on economic matters. A little common sense and street smarts and he sounded as logical and reasonable as any Harvard graduate.
While the former con is succedding, the former businessman is floundering. Dan befriends a hooker who lets him stay with her. He steals food at a party while dressed as Santa Clause and gets himself arrested.
In the end the two men who's lives have been changed meet up and discover the devious force which has been working against them. They plan to ruin the elder gentleman founders of the investment firm that meddled in their lives. All of the trouble was for a bet of only $1 between the brothers. The manipulated men trick the old founders into believing they have early information about the Agriculture Department's report on farm conditions. Armed with this false information the old men plan to purchase fruits as a commodity in a way that is not wise. The pair of old shesiters is ruined and they half to relinquish their seat on the commodities exchange.
In many ways the second half of the movie is a whole other movie than the first half, it presents information about commodities trading, and teamwork between the pair that before were rivals. The movie is a comedy that presents a tale of the theory of nature versus nurture against the backdrop of a corporate setting.
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