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The Offer Reviews Are Here, See What Critics Are Saying About The Paramount+ Godfather Series

Miles Teller in The Offer.
(Image credit: Paramount Television Studios)

The Godfather is not only one of the greatest movies of the 1970s, but it's also in the annals of all-time greats. So many quotes from the 1972 Best Picture Oscar winner have made it into pop culture, and are repeated so regularly, one could start to forget where they all came from. The Offer, however, takes us exactly to that place. The upcoming Paramount+ drama explores the events surrounding the development and production of the iconic mob movie, as seen through the eyes of mega-producer Albert S. Ruddy. Critics were able to screen the 10-episode limited series ahead of its April 28 release, and the reviews are in

The series is a star-studded affair, with Miles Teller as producer Albert S. Ruddy, Dan Fogler as director Francis Ford Coppola, Grey’s Anatomy vet Justin Chambers as actor Marlon Brando, and Anthony Ippolito as Al Pacino, as well as a number of other stars, including Giovanni Ribisi, Colin Hanks, Matthew Goode and Juno Temple. So what did the critics have to say about the story behind the story? 

Let’s dive right in, starting with Liz Shannon Miller of Consequence, who warns viewers the series isn't a factual retelling of the movie’s development, but rather the experience through Albert S. Ruddy’s point of view. She says Justin Chambers and Anthony Ippolito deliver, and that Matthew Goode is Emmy-worthy as Robert Evans, but that the show doesn't completely justify its own existence: 

Really, the key to telling a story like this, where we know the ultimate outcome — huge financial success, plus plenty of shiny gold statues — is identifying the specifics of what makes this particular making-of tale so special, revealing why this is one of the greatest movies ever made, despite all the odds being against it. ... If the show were just a little tighter in pace, a little more grounded in fact, it’d be an easy recommend to any cinephiles interested in this particular period of film history.

Other critics are far less forgiving, including Rodrigo Perez of The Playlist, who grades the series a C-. He calls The Offer self-serving and more like “Godfather dress-up cosplay” with nothing to say: 

The main Offer problem — beyond its overall superficiality and lack of substance — is that it wears out its welcome. The appeal and proximity to The Godfather will help you initially suspend your disbelief, forgive unintentionally funny voices, pardon broad writing and hokey soliloquies about the power of film, and excuse garish costumes and waxy performances. But by the time it’s reached the midway point — and you’ve seen all that the series has to give and all that’s left is an ending you already know — whatever eagerness or curiosity you might’ve initially had quickly evaporates, making you resent all you forgave.

Matt Roush of TV Insider says The Offer is a series he could take or leave, but he agrees with other critics who praise the portrayals of Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Robert Evans — the critic says he’d watch a whole series about Matthew Goode’s character. He is also in line with others in saying that MIles Teller and Colin Hanks are among those who miss the mark:

[The Offer] suffers, like so much in the streaming world, from repetition and extreme overlength, which is ironic considering that Paramount’s bean counters (embodied by Colin Hanks in a thankless wet-blanket role) tried to shorten the all-time classic by an hour. Worse, Offer’s depiction of the gangsters hounding Ruddy (Miles Teller) leans into cartoonish stereotype in a way The Godfather worked so diligently to avoid.

John Townsend of Slant rates the series 2.5 out of 4 stars, and while he has more good things to share than many others, he also believes the show bombards viewers with puffed-up egos, and that it sometimes seems overdramatized for effect:

What begins to detract somewhat from this entertaining pulp is the focus on the real-life mafia itself. The families that inspired The Godfather played a key role in ensuring that production went forward — issues over permits and unions were made to go away — and The Offer places mob boss Joe Colombo (an unrecognizable Giovanni Ribisi) front and center. But homing in on the organized crime element, rather than the particulars of making a classic Hollywood film, feels like an attempt to crank up the drama and fill out the runtime. The irony is clear, but it’s often wielded with a clumsy bluntness, which permeates an otherwise exuberant romp filled with cliffhangers, sharp suits, and retro cool.

Richard Trenholm of CNET recognizes The Offer’s faults, but he says it’s a treat for cinephiles. The details of the story are fascinating, he says, but there were opportunities to make the series a little shorter:

The Offer may be a little dragged-out, and it lacks the zingy dynamism of similar shows like Winning Time. But it does a great job of casting a little of that ol' Hollywood stardust. Not just the sun-dappled yet slightly desperate glamor of Tinseltown, the gorgeous clothes and beautiful people, but the unifying power of the silver screen. After watching this show, if you're not itching to get to a movie theater or maybe even dust off that screenplay, then I don't know what to say to you. At the very least you'll fancy a cannoli.

The critics definitely were able to find some flaws in The Offer, which is possibly to be expected when it’s naturally being held up against what is considered one of the best movies ever. And it seems like this bit from THR's Daniel Feinberg encapsulates that feeling as poetically as seemingly anything said in the show itself:

If The Godfather took a schlocky Mario Puzo novel and elevated it to prestige, The Offer has taken a prestigious movie and lowered it back down to schlock.

On Rotten Tomatoes, 15 critics rated the Paramount+ series as of this writing, giving it a score of 47%, with an average rating of 5.9 out of 10. Certainly not the worst, given how some opinions were skewed, but clearly not on par with anything from Francis Ford Coppola's '70s era.

If you’d like to give The Offer a whirl, the first three episodes will be available for streaming with a Paramount+ subscription on Thursday, April 28. New episodes will be released each Thursday thereafter. A subscription will also get you access to the best shows that Paramount+ has to offer. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what other series are premiering soon. 

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.