Time Out says
When two bastardly billionaire brothers, Duke and Duke of Duke & Duke Commodities Brokers (Bellamy, Ameche), have a one dollar wager about the respective merits of breeding or environment on a man's character, they engineer the 'trading places' of one of their young financial wizards (Aykroyd, in fine smug form) with a black low-life hustler (Murphy), and sit back to watch Murphy rise and Aykroyd fall. This absurdly wayward premise may be a re-run of the Prince and the Pauper theme, but its snowy Christmas setting in Philadelphia provides the film with more than a hint of Christmas Carol fairytale warmth; it's also a great vehicle for the talents of Murphy, who fulfils with outrageous confidence all that he promised in 48 HRS. As a satire on the internecine savagery of fiscal doings under late Reaganite capitalism, the movie is not as biting as it thinks it is; but it's still the best hoot since Arthur. CPea.