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A young American family moves to a House in Kyoto, Japan. It turns out to be haunted by the ghosts of a woman and her lover, who were killed by the woman's husband, as well as the ghost of the husband, who killed himself afterward.
George has been regularly sneaking away to see mistress Babette, who has no idea that he's married. So when George's wife Yvonne sends a letter inviting the "couple" that he's been visiting to stay with him, Babette assumes he wants her to move in. Although she's miffed about the situation when she hits the scene, Babette agrees to pose the wife of George's gay buddy Lenny... but complications arise with the arrival of Babette's recently-estranged husband Jac, who's wanted by the cops and quickly decides to take a job as the family's butler when his identity is questioned. Further convoluting matters are George and Yvonne's meddling maid and a policeman on the verge of retirement who's hoping to find one last case to make a name for himself.
Adapted from the French play "Moumou," this was a live theatrical production which was shot for broadcast on Showtime. The thing that immediately springs to mind when watching "Pajama Tops" is "Three's Company." Same era, same shot-on-video look, same sort of goofy plots in which the various characters are confused, confounded and befuddled by the various roles they're forced to play and bizarre situations they're stuck in.
The cast is solid all-around, but Robert Klein absolutely devours the scenery as the flamboyant poet who reluctantly agrees to play it straight. Pia Zadora also shines as mistress Babette, who eagerly spins the situation to her own advantage primarily for her own amusement. And Susan George plays the role of the charming but passive-aggressive bitch wife to perfection.
The downside here is the big third act twist - I'm not going to spoil it, but suffice it to say that it's more far-fetched than anything that preceded it. Of course, by that point, viewers ought to be engaged enough with the story and characters to roll with it. All in all, it's an entertaining 105 minutes and quite a shame that it has yet to surface on DVD. For fans of any of the cast members, this is one obscurity that's worth seeking out (and it was issued on VHS and Beta).
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