In 1972, movie studio Paramount Pictures released The Godfather, a film from Francis Ford Coppola. The film was a smash hit and to this day is regarded as one of the great American motion pictures.
In 2022, streaming service Paramount+ released The Offer, a TV series from writer Michael Tolkin. The TV series is definitely regarded as a TV show that is streaming in 2022.
Making a TV show or movie about the making of one of the greatest films of all time never really delivers. For evidence of this, look to both The Offer and to TV movie RKO 281, a pretty-okay TV movie about the making of Citizen Kane (also see: Mank). Ironically enough, you can make a great movie about the making of some of the worst films of all-time. Into evidence, let us place Exhibit A: Ed Wood.
Now, none of this is to say that The Offer is bad. It's actually very watchable. But that isn't to say it is especially good either. The problem with The Offer is that a number of crucial choices were made early in and the result is a series that feels a little muddled and often looking in the wrong direction.
The most glaring issue with The Offer is the performances. A decision has clearly been made to go very big with the characters. Watch Matthew Goode as an absolute delight as studio chief Robert Evans - he's great fun. As is Burn Gorman as Gulf+Western chief Charles Bluhdorn. Dan Fogler nails his role as Francis Ford Coppola, even if the tenor of the performance is dialed quite a bit differently to the broadness of Goode and Gorman.
The other choice made was to focus this from the viewpoint of producer Al Ruddy. Ruddy is credited in the opening titles of the show, so clearly he was actively involved with the production, but he’s not an especially interesting character and he comes off as a complete Mary Sue. He never puts a foot wrong and everything seems to go his way. Ruddy also opens the door to a dopey plot involving real mobsters displeased with the impending release of the film. None of it is especially engaging and actor Miles Teller as Ruddy just feels like he’s going through the motions.
You won't have a bad time with The Offer. Just know that you're in for some fairly lightweight cheese with silly performances and too many knowing references winkingly delivered to the viewers.
I'll refrain from bending backwards to make a 'Take the cannoli" joke to conclude this review. I'm not sure the show would be brave enough to do the same.
The Offer is streaming now on Paramoumnt+.