Pompatus of Love

The Pompatus of Love (1996), co-written by Jon Cryer, Adam Oliensis and Richard Schenkman, who also directed, is yet another movie about a male quartet suffering through painful transition to maturity and adulthood. “Some people call me the space cowboy,” Steve Miller sings in “The Joker,” and it's the song's line about the “pompatus of love” that serves as the title and inspiration. Four New Yorkers share their innermost thoughts and engage in an endless journey into adult angst, specifically the inscrutability of women. They seem fated to remain young. In the manner of Diner, Schenkman uses quick cuts between characters, allowing them to tell the same story and finish each other's sentences.

At the center are the bonding rituals of Mark (Jon Cryer), Josh (Adrian Pasdar), Phil (Adam Oliensis) and Runyon (Tim Guinee): visiting a topless bar, meeting a playwright (Roscoe Lee Browne) who's also pursuing younger women. Not much happens, except for Runyon's meeting with a TV producer in L.A. Mark strives to be the “evolved human” he writes about in his feel-good books. Like Beautiful Girls and Kicking and Screaming, the women (played by Kristen Scott homas, Paige Turco, Jennifer Tilly and Mia Sara) are far more intriguing than the men.