REVIEW: ‘The Offer’ Is A Series You Won’t Mind Refusing

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the Offer - But Why Tho

The Offer is a Paramount+ Original Limited Series developed by Michael Tolkin and Leslie Grief, based on Albert S. Ruddy‘s experiences while making The Godfather. The series chronicles Ruddy, played by Miles Teller in the series, as he ascends to a producing position at Paramount Pictures, and his attempts to get the Godfather made. While he finds success in hiring Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler) to direct and novelist Mario Puzo (Patrick Gallo) to adapt his own novel, Ruddy ends up encountering obstacles in the form of Paramount boss Robert Evans (Matthew Goode), along with Mafia head Joe Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi).

I can see the appeal of a series like The Offer; exploring the making of The Godfather – which is one of the most influential movies to ever hit the silver screen – is a subject ripe with potential. But the problem lies with the execution. First and foremost, the series has a nearly glacial pace. At ten hour-long episodes, it takes forever to get to the interesting parts of the narrative. Take the pilot; it mostly focuses on Ruddy’s work in the computer world before jumping to him coming up with the idea for Hogan’s Heroes and then shifting to the making of The Godfather.

Fans who came to see a series about the making of The Godfather will either be scratching their heads at this abrupt beginning or switch to another one of Paramount+’s offerings. Say what you will about Halo or Star Trek: Picard, but they actually remember to move their narratives forward and still focus on the science fiction elements.

Then there’s the lead. Teller took over playing Ruddy after Armie Hammer departed under a storm of controversy, but for the character who’s supposed to be the audience’s way into this story, he’s not very interesting. Teller speaks all of his dialogue at a low rumble, which had me straining to decipher his words at times. And even worse, he’s outflanked by his supporting cast. As Evans, Goode radiates a magnetic charm and equally magnetic menace. One minute he’s praising his co-workers’ initiative, the next he’s threatening to fire them. Other standouts in the cast include Juno Temple as Ruddy’s secretary/Girl Friday Bettye McCart and Fogler, who disappears into the role of Coppola with gusto. And Ribisi steals scene after scene as Colombo, to the point where I wish the series was focused on his exploits instead.

The most ludicrous moments of The Offer concern the grandiose speeches exalting the importance of movies, and characters disparaging TV. Evans says that he believes in the power of movies during a speech to his superiors, while Ruddy says that he’ll blow his brains out if he has to spend another minute working on Hogan’s Heroes.

Yes, the show takes place in a time before prestige television and streaming services but I still find it utterly ironic that a lengthy series on Paramount’s streaming service is preaching about the power of movies when it would have been better served as a film itself. It even has a skilled filmmaker behind the camera in the form of Dexter Fletcher, who helmed the Elton John biopic Rocketman for Paramount. Given Fletcher’s work on that film,  I wish he’d have brought a similar flare to The Offer.

The Offer is hampered by glacial storytelling and a miscast lead, resulting in a series that lacks the spark of the film it’s about. Viewers would be better off watching the Godfather saga, as it’s a better use of their time – and it’s far more entertaining than the entirety of this series.

The first three episodes of The Offer are available to stream on Paramount+, with new episodes premiering every Thursday.


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    Rating - 5/10
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TL;DR

The Offer is hampered by glacial storytelling and a miscast lead, resulting in a series that lacks the spark of the film it’s about. Viewers would be better off watching the Godfather saga, as it’s a better use of their time – and it’s far more entertaining than the entirety of this series.