New from Al and Linda Lerner on Movies and Shakers: The Offer

The Offer Movies and Shakers May 2, 2022

This star-packed series about this star-packed 1972 classic, The Godfather drew us in with the first episode, but falters. We saw the first two episodes directed by Dexter Fletcher, but the second was disjointed, perhaps because it was written by a number of writers led by Michael Tolkin and Leslie Greif. Maybe too many hands in the pot.

It’s based on the stories of Al Ruddy, a chemical engineer turned Hollywood Film Producer with the moxie to go after who and what he wanted in his movie version of The Godfather. Since Al Ruddy himself is one of the executive producers and a member of the writing team, he is portrayed in the most complimentary light. Miles Teller is gets to play Ruddy as genius wunderkind producer, even though he has no experience in the business. Miles Teller plays the pretty boy with guts enough to play with the big honchos of Hollywood and tough guys of the Mob. The word “Mafia” is never used in the series. 

The cast of characters includes self-important Hollywood producer pulling everyone’s chain, Robert Evans (Matthew Goode), his girlfriend, actress Ali McGraw (Meredith Garretson). Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore) as Francis Ford Coppola and  Patrick Gallo’s Mario Puzo have fun playing off each other imagining and scripting the film in between trading recipes for and eating Italian food. 

Bettye McCartt (Juno Temple) is most interesting as the unlikely assistant to Ruddy who is so savvy about everything Hollywood at a time when women were relegated to being seen and not heard. Included are more smart, strong female characters like casting director Andrea Eastman (Stephanie Koenig) and Ruddy’s love interest who owned and ran the Chateau Marmont Hotel, Francoise Glazer (Nora Arnezeder). 

Teller as Ruddy has to juggle, cajole, charm and negotiate everything to get the film made to the satisfaction of all, especially the box office. With 10 hour episodes this series is a gigantic undertaking and we’re seeing the emerging problems the script has in following three distinct story lines that all have to mesh. The Bob Evans plot line seems bent on making him into some kind of moviemaking mastermind who’s also a bit of a benevolent overlord. Matthew Goode’s stilted, forced vocal style quickly becomes an affectation. It’s wearisome.

Then there’s the issue of the Italian Mob meatballs and their efforts to stop the movie from getting made. Frankly, this collection of bosses and henchmen come off as second rate caricatures of some of the characters in The Sopranos. The worst offender portrayed might be the hothead, overbearing Frank Sinatra presented by Frank John Hughes. There is no effort to give him even the slightest bit of “old blue eyes’” charm.

It’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes look adapted from Executive Producer, Al Ruddy’s recollections, rather that from a book. Teller does a pretty good job as the frustrated filmmaker fixer between the studio heads and the mob. But we’re hoping after starting with great promise they can fix the script and get back on track because, with 10 episodes, they’ve got a long way to go. 

Paramount+   10 Episodes     TV-MA

The post The Offer first appeared on Movies and Shakers.

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