Paramount + launch their long-awaited streaming service in the UK with The Offer one of the main draws; what’s surprising is how much is missing from the overall line-up. It’s all well and good having a series about the making of The Godfather, but with the Paramount logo in almost every shot, it’s strange that The Godfather isn’t one of the films listed for home entertainment. There’s no sign of either white hot IP of the Top Gun movies, and even their big franchises (Transformers) are missing key titles. While there’s more content that on Apple +, the range of titles seems somewhat skeletal compared to Prime or Disney+; perhaps that will change in the forthcoming weeks and Paramount will somehow make us an offer we can’t refuse.
In the meantime, The Offer is one of two forthcoming projects about the making of The Godfather; there’s a feature film starring Oscar Isaac in the works that’s supposedly about the relationship between director Francis Ford Coppola and producer Robert Evans. For now, we have Miles Teller as Albert S Ruddy, navigating between Evans (Matthew Goode in hilarious form) Mario Puzo (Patrick Gallo) and Coppola himself, played by Dan Fogler. There’s also a slew of ‘cameos’ from well-known celebrities, with Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Elizabeth Taylor and Ali McGraw all ‘appearing’ in the first episode. The Frank Sinatra (Frank John Hughes) cameo is key, because it’s his objection to the Johnny Fontaine character in Puzo’s book that spurs the Mafia to object to the film’s production.
The Offer may not be the final word on this subject, but on the strength of the opener, it’s an entertaining romp that offers a garish, cartoonish picture of the film-making process. This won’t kick-start a franchise, since the story ends with the film’s production, although a comedy series about Goode’s perma-tanned Evans would be welcome. It’s certainly interesting to see how Ruddy played off Redford on the set of Butch Cassidy, although based on the much-admired, saintly aura that Ruddy is generally given, you’d have thoughts this was about the early life of a saint rather than the producer of the Cannonball Run films.
The Offer may rely on previous knowledge of the Godfather saga, and the appeal may be limited to the many who know the film, but it’s also slick, glossy entertainment with a fun take on Hollywood excess in collision with real world gangsters. It’s certainly worth taking a subscription to see, but Paramount+ better have something big up their sleeves to follow; no streaming service survives on old movies alone.
The Offer is streaming now on Paramount+ in the UK and US.