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Made for television movies on the subject tend to favor titles along the lines of ''Forbidden Love. The story of Robert Christenberry, played by John Ritter, does have its carefully calculated limitations. Things do not get off to a promising start. Robert is seen in a singles bar, demonstrating for the envious delight of his male friends how he can get just about any woman in the place to go home with him. This particular kind of scene is especially popular in television movies these days.
Predictably, a few scenes later, Robert is asking deep questions about the emptiness of his life: ''Have you ever had a real conversation with any of these girls? Enter Isobel Ross, played by Karen Carlson, who has been hired as a new investigator at the same law firm that employs Robert. In fact, Robert will be her boss. In no time at all, he realizes that Isobel, divorced and the mother of a daughter, is a lot more substantial than most of his easy pickups. They begin going to Japanese restaurants together. She rides a bicycle, so he buys one to keep up with her.
Her father fought with the Lincoln Brigade in Spain in the 30's, and Eleanor Roosevelt was her idol when growing up. In his conservative family home, Jane Fonda is considered the anti-Christ. He falls in love. She is wary. This is pretty standard stuff, but ''In Love With an Older Woman'' manages to come up with some fairly interesting turns. A parallel is carefully established between Robert the lawyer with a reputation for being ruthless and the way Robert used to make love before meeting Isobel. There is also a nice bit of business about her age.
He, 29, guesses that she must be be She doesn't correct him, but when her year-old daughter Jamie Rose shows up, she confesses to being Robert remains undaunted. Another pointed angle is developed around Robert's job. It seems he is getting paid less than lawyers of equal rank because he is not married. His boss, a pompous former politician, does not approve of bachelors and numerous other things, including the standard minorities.
It is almost impossible to resist any production that can manage to incorporate within its borders both a recording of the pop song ''Pennsylvania Six-Five Thousand'' and some old Jack Benny-Fred Allen radio routines. There are some nice touches along the way. Miss Carlson is lovely and thoroughly charming as the older woman, although she nearly blows it in the final scene when her supposedly ''free spirit'' hairdo, a mass of halolike curls, makes her look like a Barbra Streisand parody. And Miss Rose is splendid as the cool, truly liberated daughter. But it is Mr.
Ritter who pulls and holds In love with an older woman 1982 entire project together. For years, he has been the crucial ingredient in the comedy series ''Three's Company,'' something Suzanne Sommers discovered when she departed and the show just kept on running. He is an exceptionally ingratiating actor, with a sense of humor that can get him through the stickiest of scenes. One can almost feel the other actors responding to him personally. In ballet, he would be the equivalent of the star who can also make his partners shine.
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In Love With an Older Woman