one upsmanship

The Pompatus of Love

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". The low-budget, independent movie 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).

Significance of "Pompatus"

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"?

The true origins lie in an R&B song entitled "The Letter," written by Vernon Green, leader of the 1950s rhythm-and-blues band The Medallions.

See also: Pompatus


External links

Search another word or see one upsmanshipon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature