Vacuous older woman desires vacuous younger man. Object: Insipid TV movie.
This consummation devoutly to be dreaded is accomplished tonight on the CBS film "Forbidden Love," a groggy, Harlequin-romantic trance, at 9 on Channel 9. The only thing of note here is that Yvette Mimieux is the Older Woman, for wasn't it only yesterday she was the Younger Woman? Mimieux plays a San Francisco hospital administrator whose dalliance with a baby-faced intern, Andrew Stevens, is supposed to be enough to set all of Marin County abuzz.
Surely they've seen everything by now in Marin County. And a divorced woman harboring a male plaything in her mansion would be a source more of envy than scorn. But in the script, the boy's father is outraged because he thinks his son is playing "gigolo," and the woman's daughter stages a fit or two because she'd been clinging to the hope her divorced parents would one day reconcile.
As directed by Steven Hillard Stern, this update of "All That Heaven Allows" -- the '50s picture in which Jane Wyman's romance with Rock Hudson nearly tore a town out of its moorings -- comes across as a peculiarly tepid affair. Stevens couldn't be duller. Mimieux, as a loving pan up her bikini-clad body demonstrates, still looks dandy, but neither the role nor the director ever calls upon her to emote one iota. It's as if any sign of life in this film would have disturbed the sleep of somebody on the set.
The meet-cute opening has Mimieux pushing a bowl of guacamole toward Stevens at a bar and poor him sticking his hand in it and getting his fingers all green. Soon there are purring phone calls, a kissless first date, an expensive dinner paid for by the lady, and an invitation over the phone for him to spend a day off "by the pool, sort of stretched-out in the sun."
And so to bed.
And so to bed again.
And so to the beach. She: "I love the way your eyes smile."
About 40 minutes in, we get the obligatory fireplace scene. They smooch. They play chess (they play chess?). She tickles his arm.
And so to bed.
She buys him a sweater. She buys him a sportscar. She invites him to move in. His dad tells him, "You're kept." At a pool party, the woman realizes how much older she is than the lad. "I'll be 64 when you're my age," she says, but the screenplay is careful never to say exactly what that age is.
Finally, she breaks it off. He leaves. There's a tear or two, but no scenes. Indeed, there's scarcely a scene worth calling a scene in the whole picture. One minute into the 11 o'clock news, it won't even be a memory.