Fifty years ago, Paramount pictures were responsible for creating the greatest film ever to come out of Hollywood, Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel “The Godfather”. Two years later, the same team of players made history a second time, giving us the equally magnificent, and even more complex “The Godfather, Part II.
Now, to mark the anniversary, Paramount + gives us “The Offer”, a 10-episode limited series about the making of a masterpiece. Unfortunately, it’s a failure and a not very interesting one that that.
The Gospel According to Ruddy
The major and insurmountable problem is that the series a fake. The production is one big ego trip for Albert S. Ruddy, the guy from the Rand Corporation who, somehow, ended up as the film’s producer. It is Ruddy, and not the film’s famed director Francis Ford Coppola who is the proud owner of The Godfather’s Best Picture Oscar – the 1972 Oscar for Best Director went to Bob Fosse for ‘“Cabaret”. Ruddy’s only other offering, up to that time, was the dreadful – both artistically and commercially – “Little Fauss and Big Halsey” and, it must be noted, that Ruddy was one of the very few people from Part I NOT to be invited back for Part II. His post-Godfather career was all downhill with only 1975’s Robert Aldrich’s “The Longest Yard” being both a commercial and critical success.
Albert and Bettye
In his early scenes Ruddy has to be spoon-fed by his loyal assistant Bettye McCartt (supposedly, a real person) who is played by Juno Temple from Ted Lasso. Bettye is there purely to serve Ruddy. Not for an instant does the thought cross her or anyone’s mind that she could up and leave and become his competitor. A sign of the times? Yes. But the fact that Bettye’s servility is never questioned in our post #MeToo society gives the whole enterprise an air of sexism.
From “The Player” to “The Offer”.
Most of those who worked on “The Godfather” have passed and word has it that those who are still alive (Coppola, Pacino, Duvall, Caan, and Diane Keaton) wanted nothing to do this production.
The result is equal parts a Ruddy hagiography and a very cheap looking recreation of Hollywood in the late sixties and early seventies. In an astonishing reversal of form, we find out that the series is credited to the once talented Michael Tolkin who, thirty years ago was responsible for “The Player” and “The Rapture”.
Ruddy is portrayed in a play-it-by-numbers fashion by Miles Teller, a last minute replacement for the disgraced Armie Hammer. It would appear that, a few years ago, after his great work in “Whiplash” and “The Spectacular Now”, Teller decided to just tune out as an actor and it shows on everything’s he has done since then.
Robert Evans and Charles Bludorn
Although Matthew Goode initially holds our interest as Robert Evans (head of Paramount and Mr. Ali MacGraw) our good will fades before the end of the first episode. Ditto for Burn Gorman as Charles Bludorn the head of Paramount’s parent company Gulf and Western.
Other actors such as as Dan Folger as Coppola and as Patrick Gallo as Puzo do the best they can. However, with such uninspired material, they don’t make much an impression. Just like the series itself.
A huge disappointment for all movie lovers.