Critic Reviews



Based on 11 critic reviews provided by
This is one of those stories when reality was stranger, and more entertaining, than fiction.
When it comes to the film’s overall success, these wildly amusing situations take a back seat to the contributions of an excellent cast.
The sporadic magic of The Polka King largely comes from its casting, and the hammy performances that follow.
The Polka King doesn't have the dazzling ambition or energy of a great grifter classic. Instead she seems intent on nailing the details, on realizing Jan's milieu in all its tacky splendor, and trusting that our attention will follow. As in "Infinitely Polar Bear," Forbes has a gift for letting her production design tell the story.
What’s key is that even though this is a movie about a scoundrel, it’s all very optimistic. Forbes and Wolodarsky keep the frame bright and the filmmaking calls attention to itself only when necessary.
Jack Black...finds a role that invites a great deal of Jack Black-ness, full of peppy showmanship and thickly accented dialogue. But even moviegoers with a strong tolerance for that shtick may be less than involved with this half-charming feature, which inspires some sympathy for its protagonist but not enough to carry the film.
The Polka King, and Jan’s plight, never quite reaches the level of palpable human drama of their previous effort. Black does his best to make Jan a vulnerable and sympathetic character, but neither the script nor the direction allows him to become fully dimensional.
Forbes and Wolodarsky are clearly fascinated by this character and all of his sins, but not those he sinned against.
Above all else, this movie is so well-cast that the laugh line makes perfect sense coming from Black.
It’s not that the film doesn’t have an opinion on Lewan, it’s that the opinion seems to change every few scenes.

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