The book this movie is made from is a masterpiece of business literature. It is impossible to make that wonderful book into anything less than an extended documentary or a several part mini-series. That being admitted and set aside, this is a very good and very funny movie. Amazingly, it tells a lot of the actual story as you can cram into a standard movie format.
It is bitingly funny and like all satire that truly bites, it is funny because it is based on truth. This movie condenses the RJR - KKR competition into something like a farce (as it seemed in the papers at the time). Some may object to making such a huge deal into something of a joke, but c'mon, this whole deal had a large dose of the absurd about it. How else could they have played this story in two hours?
And it is has the additional benefit of being educational for business students. You will see how managers misuse shareholder money by treating it as if it were their own (agency costs). You will see planeloads of money poured into bad projects (NPV). You will see naked greed, inept investment advice, and broken trust (corporate ethics). You know, late 20th century American business! It is funny, dramatic, and a bit touching, for example, as they fly the sick pooch home on his own private corporate jet. (Which some deny every happening, but it has entered the realm of legend - so whether it happened or not it has become something like a kind of truth.)
James Garner is terrific (he almost always is) as is the whole cast. It really is a delightful movie and that is almost miraculous given how deadly boring this topic could have become.
But don't forget to read the book!