While I did not expect my first film review of 2018 to be The Polka King, I can say that this movie did have a few laughs. Maya Forbes (Infinitely Polar Bear) directs the true story Jan Lewan, a Polish immigrant and self-described “Polka King” who took hundreds of elderly people’s cash in a Ponzi scheme.
Jan Lewan (Jack Black) is a Polish man married to Marla (Jenny Slate). Marla’s overbearing mother Barb (Jacki Weaver) lives with him. He travels the road with a Polka band playing and performing while also running a trinket store and making pizza deliveries. When his band’s popularity starts to falter, he decides to let people invest in his business and promising returns. His intentions are good, but after getting a visit from the government, informing him he would have to payback the already spent money. When he cannot pay it back, he decides to start a series of fake businesses to invest in to make more money.
Soon, his fame starts to catch up with him, forcing Jan to start even more companies and promising even more cash. His friends and his investors soon become suspicious after a scandal involving bribing a beauty pageant in his wife’s favor.
The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, but did not get broader exposure until it premiered as a Netflix exclusive.
This movie was honestly, not that good. On paper, it should have been a comedic masterpiece, but except for Jack Black’s portrayal of Jan, it did not have the laugh out loud moments that it should have had.
That in mind, there were some genuinely funny moments, again, almost exclusively with Jack Black. His comedic timing as Lewan is what made the movie enjoyable, at least in pieces.
One problem, there was a scene that seemed to victim blame the defrauded investors as greedy. They were retirees who just wanted a chance to make some money in their golden years. That is not greed, that is not wanting to slide into poverty. I think that was low of Forbes to include that scene.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Brief Strong Language; Sexual innuendo; Thematic Elements
FAVORITE QUOTE: When I was little boy in Poland, all the times, I dreaming of America. So I come, I work hard, and I climb to the highest stars.
Check out the trailer below:
That is my review. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below and tell me if there’s a movie you’d like me to review. Check out my thoughts on Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.