A comedic look into the life of Jan Lewan, the Polka player who conned money out of his fans to try and build a empire.
Starring Jack Black and Jason Schwartzman it just showed up on Netflix one day and I decided to give it a look.
There is no way to say it but the story itself is a boring one. People gave a man money because they liked him and trusted him. Sure that is the sad truth of life but in any other hands it would be a story that would bore the tears out of anyone watching.
Thankfully The Polka King is saved by a fantastic cast that bring enough comedy and charm to the film that you get enthralled in the tale.
Jack Black is a easy person to love and hate at the same time, so many of the characters he’s played are easy to relate to and then make you hate yourself for saying it. As Jan Lewan he was able to bring to life a rather cheerful gentleman that seemed to love his life and his family yet end up conning people out of all their money. You loved him because he was a easy to like person but you hate him because he was a crook. The only person who seemed to be able to see through his bullshit was his mother-in-law Barb (Jacki Weaver) who played such a unlikable part of the story right till the end even though she was always kind of right about the situation. Their small moments together were always the best parts.
Now I know nothing of the actual Jan Lewan, who he was or what he actually wanted to do but the film made you kind of get behind him yourself. Again its the sad thing about things like this, you fall in love with the character so much you’ll give them anything and believe what they tell you but the Lewan portrayed was a man trying to give the best to his family and in some stupidly strange way walking into a complete mess. It wasn’t until a failed bribery attempt to make his wife win a beauty pageant and a few lay offs in the band that anyone bothered to get upset at him, before then whatever he was doing was making them happy.
I enjoyed it much more then I thought. It was a very upbeat film even in its darkest moments and whilst you always knew this was a real person who conned people you disconnected from it, or maybe I did because I don’t know who he is, and it ended up feeling like one of those films where you see the protagonist do stupid things and just shake your head because he’s so witless. He wasn’t witless, he was extremely intelligent to do what he did, but I think for me it needed that disconnect from reality to get the story through because it is a larger then life tale.
For what it is its worth checking out on Netflix. Its fun, has a great cast and interesting enough.