The Polka King

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Local Pennsylvania polka legend Jan Lewan develops a plan to get rich that shocks his fans and lands him in jail.


The Polka King starring Jack Black is a fun if not fully satisfying ride.  The story is familiar fare,  immigrant who comes to America comes up with way to get rich while he searches for real fame with his Polka band.  Unfortunately his plan to get rich is milk seniors of their retirement money by offering them unrealistic returns.  (i.e. a Ponzi scheme, a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors)

Based on the real life story of Jan Lewan, The Polka King, is funny thanks to the talents of Black, and also heartfelt at times as you find yourself buying into the innocence and pure joy of the Lewan character.


There are several references to Catholicism and even a humorous, yet tasteful visit with the Pope.  Jan, in a critical scene where his son is in an accident and facing death, prays to God and asks for help and the answer he gets is funny but justified.

Now lets be realistic, what Lewan did was criminal and illegal and took advantage of many people.  However his story yields to one of redemption as even now he continues to pay his patrons back and still believes his brand of polka music will land him at the top.   If I had to sum up this movie I would simply say. “OLAY, OLAY OLAY OLAY!”

3 1/2 stars out of 5.


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