The Pompatus of Love

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The Pompatus of Love
DVD cover
Directed byRichard Schenkman
Written by
Produced by
  • John O'Rourke
  • D. J. Paul
  • Jon Resnik
Music byJohn Hill
Distributed byBMG Independents
Release date
  • July 26, 1996 (1996-07-26)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States[1]

The Pompatus of Love is a 1996 American comedy 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 mostly negative reviews.


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"? "Poconos"?



The film had trouble getting a distributor after its festival run, as several other male-oriented romantic comedy films were complete around the same time. The TV series Friends had also aired by the time production completed.[2]


Rotten Tomatoes reports that 17% of six critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 3.8/10.[3] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated it 2/4 stars and wrote, "This is an overdirected and overedited film, in love with the technique of short cuts in which characters finish each other's sentences."[4] John Anderson of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film's premise is "ludicrous and perfect, since the film is basically about the uninvolving being obsessed with the uninteresting".[5] Lawrence Van Gelder of The New York Times called it "a literate, funny film about men, women and the many mysteries of love in the 1990s".[6] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that the film, like other romantic comedy films about men, uses a stock premise that is false: men do not understand what women want.[7]



  1. ^ "The Pompatus of Love (1995)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Retrieved 2016-03-22.[dead link][dead link]
  2. ^ Evans, Greg (1995-12-17). "Spate Of New Pix Tests Limits Of Friendship". Variety. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  3. ^ "The Pompatus of Love (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (1996-08-09). "The Pompatus Of Love". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2016-03-22 – via
  5. ^ Anderson, John (1996-07-26). "'Pompatus' Wrestles a World of Self-Doubt". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  6. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (1996-07-26). "The Pompatus of Love (1995)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  7. ^ LaSalle, Mick (1996-09-27). "FILM REVIEW – 'Pompatus of Love' Is for Jokers Only". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-03-22.

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