The Pompatus of Love

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The Pompatus of Love
DVD cover
Directed by Richard Schenkman
Produced by John O'Rourke
D.J. Paul
Jon Resnik
Written by Jon Cryer
Adam Oliensis
Richard Schenkman
Starring Jon Cryer
Mia Sara
Jennifer Tilly
Music by John Hill
Distributed by BMG Independents
Release dates
July 26, 1996
Running time
99 minutes
Country France
United States
Language English

The Pompatus of Love is a 1996 film that tells the story of four guys discussing women and the meaning of the word "pompatus". This made-up word is found in two Steve Miller songs, "Enter Maurice" and "The Joker", the latter of which contains the line "Some people call me Maurice / 'cause I speak of the pompatus of love". Wolfman Jack can also be heard using the term in his spoken lines in The Guess Who's "Clap for the Wolfman."

The low-budget, independent film received mixed reviews but won several minor awards.


The film revolves around four friends and their relationships with women. Set to the background of upscale Manhattan bars, lofts and apartments, the guys engage in sharp banter and one-upsmanship. The characters, Mark, a therapist (Jon Cryer); Runyon, a playwright (Tim Guinee); Josh, a playboy (Adrian Pasdar) and Phil, a plumber (Adam Oliensis), try (generally unsuccessfully) to sort out their troubled love-lives. Mark and his girlfriend (Kristen Wilson) are hung up over moving in together; Runyon is hung up over his old girlfriend Kathryn (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), who has moved to Los Angeles; the womanizing Josh is hung up on Phil's sister, Gina (Paige Turco), who has an abusive husband; Phil, who is married with children, finds himself hung up on an English interior designer (Kristin Scott Thomas).

The characters in the film spend much of their time trying to decipher the word "pompatus," wondering whether they are mis-hearing the lyrics: "Prophetess"? "Impetus"? "Profitless"? "Impotence"? "Pompous Ass"? Pom-pom tits?


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