Entergalactic Review: Kid Cudi’s Next Album Is Also a Low-Key Charming Animated Rom-Com

The post Entergalactic Review: Kid Cudi’s Next Album Is Also a Low-Key Charming Animated Rom-Com appeared first on Consequence.

The Pitch: Jabari (Kid Cudi, or Scott Mescudi, as he’s credited here) is a street artist on the cusp of great things, as his original character Mr. Rager, featured in graffiti art all over New York City, has been tapped by a major comic book company for a potential series. He’s even got a great new loft in Manhattan, which just so happens to make him new neighbors with Meadow (Jessica Williams), a photographer who’s also getting ready for a big professional leap with her first major show.

Neither Jabari or Meadow are particularly looking for a big epic romance, but keep finding themselves spending time together after a late-night encounter, and their mutual interests plus a natural chemistry quickly accelerate them into relationship territory. However, insecurities on both ends, escalated by Jabari’s ex Carmen (Laura Harrier), threaten to ruin their happiness…

What Is This, Exactly? Entergalactic was originally announced as a TV series collaboration between Mescudi and co-executive producer Kenya Barris, designed to work in connection with Mescudi’s new album of the same name. But with its confirmed release date came the news that it was now a “TV special.” That can mean a lot of things, but in this case the result is a 94-minute self-contained love story, with a soundtrack that follows linearly along with the track list Mescudi revealed on Twitter this week:

It’d be disingenuous to refer to Entergalactic as a very long music video, to be clear — instead, the songs are well-integrated into the up-and-down romance between Jabari and Meadow. So, think of it as a movie, because approached entirely as what it is on the surface, a low-key animated rom-com about two artists in New York, Entergalactic is a perfectly enjoyable, visually grabbing nugget of entertainment, with indeed a killer soundtrack that matches the vibes of the project. (That’s one strategy for coming up with the perfect needle drops — create a narrative around the songs themselves.)

Entergalactic Review Kid Cudi Netflix
Entergalactic Review Kid Cudi Netflix

Entergalactic (Netflix)

Behind the Scenes: Entergalactic does happen to feature a cast packed with surprises: Amongst the supporting cast, there’s odd couple Timothée Chalamet and Ty Dolla $ign as Jabari’s closest friends, plus appearances by Vanessa Hudgens, Christopher Abbott, Jaden Smith, Keith David, Teyana Taylor, Arturo Castro, and Macaulay Culkin. Of them, Chalamet might be the standout, in part because he’s an unexpected presence and in part because he commits so fully to the role of chill drug dealer, but Hudgens and Ty Dolla Sign also get in some very memorable moments of performance.

What’s not surprising is how capable Mescudi is, given how he’s recently proven real acting chops in projects including Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up and Ti West’s X. He’s more than capable as the voice of a romantic lead here, especially when balanced with Williams’s steady and nuanced work as Meadow.

Mescudi and Williams are so good as voice actors that at times the fact that this is an animated project can slip one’s mind, though that’s no slight against the animation by DNEG Animation, which has a lovely painterly quality that feels close in some ways to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but with its own flair. There’s particularly great attention to hair texture as part of the visual aesthetic, and there are also occasional forays into other animation styles which are rendered with extreme authenticity, often to hilarious effect.

The Verdict: The exact reasons why Entergalactic is rolling out in this form may be unclear at this time, but given how light the plot is, this approach probably serves the material best. There are inklings of more story to be told in this universe — one runner throughout the special is the constant mention of an online dating app called Stush, which gets wrapped up abruptly in the closing minutes of the film in a way where it feels like a remnant of a much longer story.

But if the point of Entergalactic, the special, is to play as a companion piece for Entergalactic, the album, then keeping things simple makes sense. This is through and through a vibes experience, an opportunity to escape into a fantasy of being young, beautiful, talented, and free to, as Kid Cudi sings on one track, “do what I want.” Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with a simple love story.

Where to Watch: Entergalactic premieres Friday, September 30th on Netflix. (The new album by Kid Cudi also drops the same day.)

Trailer:

Entergalactic Review: Kid Cudi’s Next Album Is Also a Low-Key Charming Animated Rom-Com
Liz Shannon Miller

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