Netflix Animated Collection Is a Colourful Binge, However Low on Laughs

After nearly 4 years within the pipeline, rock and roll’s first icon Elvis Presley is lastly getting the small display remedy with Netflix’s new raunchy, adult-animated comedy collection Agent Elvis, premiering this weekend. However on no account is that this colourful, glitzy 10-episode streaming romp starring the voice expertise of Matthew McConaughey, the type of world your grandparents as soon as related to Presley. As a substitute, it’s a Tarantino-style collection that includes a barrage of bloody motion sequences, animated intercourse care of a sexy chimpanzee dilly-dallying with groupies, and profanities and medicines up the wazoo that can definitely have you ever “all shook up.” However even with all that modish attraction and an anticipated campiness stirring up entertaining conditions, Agent Elvis doesn’t fairly discover its footing with comedy and is disadvantaged of any chew because it’s means too mild on humor with a devastatingly low laugh-to-gag ratio.


Although quick-to-binge and amusing to look at, Agent Elvis’ almost 30-minute episodes observe our era’s most influential artist as he trades in a signature sequined jumpsuit for a jetpack when he’s inducted right into a secret authorities spy program by way of practices paying homage to Jason Bourne. These years Elvis was abroad for the USA Military from 1958 to 1960 had been seemingly only a cowl for his coaching as the federal government used celebrities like him to battle nefarious forces that threaten the U.S. Treating his spy job like some other intelligence agent would, Elvis does all of it whereas holding down his musical profession and balancing a household with Priscilla Presley (Priscilla Presley) and their toddler daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.

Elvis with Scatter and Bobby Ray in his limo for Netflix's Agent Elvis
Picture by way of Netflix

Associated: ‘Agent Elvis’ Trailer: Matthew McConaughey Is the King of Rock and Roll

McConaughey as Elvis is enjoyable and provides a ton of charisma to the function, particularly as he performs most charmingly with the animated model of Priscilla, voiced by the singer’s former spouse. The Elvis we see within the collection nailing the mannerisms and pizzazz, embodied by the Academy Award winner, is as candy as humble pie and hates being known as “The King.” With McConaughey’s honey-toned Southern drawl enjoying most complementary to Elvis’ household man persona, it’s an ideal marriage to the brilliant animation of daring hues, darkish traces, and vivid colours that additionally will get sturdy design inspiration from John Varvatos for the agent’s detailed wardrobe. However he’s Elvis 2.0 and nothing like what we have now ever seen within the motion pictures. He goes full throttle into his love for karate, kicking and punching massive baddies, all whereas nonetheless wanting as sharp and dapper as ever.

Add into the combo of personalities aiding superspy Elvis for this full-tilt rock and roll story lampooning actuality, and also you’ve acquired a hodgepodge of characters that deliver the promise of shenanigans and enjoyable by means of a proficient, star-studded solid lending their voices. Becoming a member of McConaughey’s animated Elvis for the trip is a model of Presley’s real-world pet chimpanzee within the Sixties because the now coked-up, very trigger-happy monkey Scatter (Tom Kenny). The chimp is a weaponized, killing machine who does Elvis’ dirtiest work when the King of Rock and Roll isn’t slicing and dicing dangerous guys. By his aspect is CeCe Ryder (Kaitlin Olson), the unpredictable and extremely expert undercover agent who is just not a fan of his however has no selection however to work with him when he joins the TCB — also referred to as “The Central Bureau,” a company of secret brokers made up of influential celebrities, like Jackie Robinson, Dean Martin and Marilyn Monroe making America protected.

Whereas it seems like a humorous joke lampooning celebrities, the caricature of Monroe’s intercourse attraction is tiresome and performs to one of many extra offensive stereotypes of her legacy as she is an agent who sleeps with Russians to get secrets and techniques. Contemplating the understanding of how Agent Elvis makes an attempt to painting Presley as greater than what the general public eye would see versus his dream of eager to be a superhero with vibrant power and constancy to household and nation, Monroe deserved that a lot as effectively as an alternative of being diminished to a steady superficiality utilizing her intercourse as a joke.

With not a single point out of Presley’s problematic supervisor, Colonel Tom Parker in Agent Elvis, the authority creating stability for the performer is present in Bertie (Niecy Nash), Elvis’ agent who additionally doubles as his strong-willed motherly determine and maybe, the kind of character the real-life Presley wanted. Nash is delightfully charming and brings a loving magnetism to Bertie, who will get herself snarled in a “situationship” with Elvis’ TCB Commander (Don Cheadle), an unknown, mercurial spymaster who runs the covert company and can cease at no means to make sure the secrets and techniques of the U.S. authorities are saved protected.

Commander and Agent Elvis chatting in a scene from 'Agent Elvis'
Picture by way of Netflix

Rounding off Elvis’ very humble wants, his finest buddy and sidekick is the goofy however lovable Bobby Ray (Johnny Knoxville) who will do something for him, even being a awful stand-in for the 1969 basic, Change of Behavior. Knoxville brings as a lot comedy as he can for the function alongside along with his co-stars, like Jason Mantzoukas because the notorious star-turned-inventor and Agent Elvis’ gadget-maker Howard Hughes, carrying tissue bins for footwear. These eccentric mixtures provide an innate confidence for assured comedy, however even with all of that, it nonetheless falls so brief.

With Presley all the time dreaming of being a superhero from an early age, Priscilla honors that want with a collection that brings glitzy enjoyable however falls flat in delivering its predominant entrée of comedy. Mixing the attraction of Archer and Hit-Monkey, Agent Elvis is zany and excessive with its alternate-history mayhem that solely animation can perform successfully, however it’s actually nothing extra. There are not any laugh-out-loud moments, no one-liners that can persist with you, and it’s truly actually upsetting. For a present that was anticipated for years and one which yours really was keen to look at, there may be not a lot else going for the collection aside from its beautiful animation and the stellar solid, who’re all comedic geniuses however that expertise didn’t stability the writing in any respect. As a substitute, the collection focuses on Kingsmen-style shoot-’em-up violence that finds characters shedding their limbs, tons of cartoon blood, and intercourse with loads of intercourse discuss and grownup conditions, which works for the campy environment. However accurately famous, Elvis, is far more healthful, apple pie-Americana than the opposite characters and doesn’t have interaction within the latter.

Agent Elvis is barely sometimes humorous amid its constant irreverence however usually falls foul to clichés and simply humorless and low-cost jokes that on the most, immediate a snicker and some chuckles. This doesn’t imply the present is unwatchable or has no probability to get higher if Netflix greenlights Season 2, which might occur. It simply means it’s not very humorous and desires to seek out stronger writing to honor Presley’s reminiscence and the comedy he was able to, as Priscilla has told outlets he had a “sick humorousness.”

Elvis and Priscilla Presley kiss in a scene from 'Agent Elvis'
Picture by way of Netflix

With Agent Elvis mentioning questionable moments in historical past that present a means in for comedian aid, like Charles Manson’s cult or the moon touchdown, the collection simply can’t fairly discover its footing like different grownup animated comedies. Even with the writers of Archer sharing their abilities throughout its 10-episode arc for a tongue-in-cheek collection, the humor isn’t superb and there’s no specific motive it shouldn’t be, which makes it a tragic case — particularly if you issue within the supporting solid and expertise, like Ed Helms, Kieran Culkin, Asif Ali, Chris Elliott, Fred Armisen, Simon Pegg, Craig Robinson, and Ego Nwodim, simply to call a couple of.

Formally ordered to collection by Sony Footage Animation as an action-comedy in 2019 from co-creators John Eddie and Priscilla Presley (The Bare Gun), Agent Elvis has some critical graphic novel vibes with its express escapism, which makes the collection enticing and welcoming. Extract each Elvis Presley facet from the present, nevertheless, and also you’ll see precisely what it’s. This can be a collection that may not work with out including Presley into the combo and feels nearly like a template for any movie star, which is perhaps ironic because the collection delves into the very commentary of movie star tradition appearing as a dialog for influencing particular agendas and preserving the order.

However add the boy from Tupelo again in as a “Puppet on a String” for the Presley model to remain younger and develop into youthful fandom worship versus out, and the attraction of Agent Elvis is in the way it subverts real-life historic occasions to create an alternate universe. It’s on this entertaining attraction that the present might have succeeded because it falls into satirical conspiracy theories which might be hilariously bonkers, and align distinctively with our ever-pervasive tradition of movie star obsessions and a social empire of affect. But, irrespective of what number of stars you pack in, the quantity of cool Easter eggs dropped into the collection, and essentially the most, coolest soundtrack from Presley’s almost 25-year musical profession juxtaposed to fiery motion scenes that attraction to the TikTok era, these components should not sufficient to avoid wasting the present’s uneven mix of silliness and satire. As a substitute, the rose-colored action-comedy fantasy is just an amusing, informal watch honoring the late performer’s want to be a hero by saving the world. Tragically, it simply might have been funnier.

Score: C+

Agent Elvis is now out there to stream on Netflix.