‘Entergalactic’ review: In Netflix movie, Kid Cudi turns new songs into an electrifying musical love story

Here is proof you can take something quite familiar and make it sing in ways that feel fresh, funny, warm and exhilarating.

The animated feature film “Entergalactic” on Netflix has a storyline straight out of the Rom-Com Playbook — I mean, our hero falls in love with a girl who literally lives next door. But the story is told with some of the most strikingly beautiful and memorably trippy visuals I’ve seen in a long time, augmented by a steady diet of infectious music by the film’s co-creator and star, Kid Cudi, with a finger directly on the pulse of millennial and Gen Z culture as experienced by young Black professionals.

This is a blazingly original piece of work, directed with great style by Fletcher Moules and essentially serving as a long-form video for Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi’s upcoming album, also titled “Entergalactic.” The fusion of music and narrative works wonderfully as we follow a group of well-drawn (in more ways than one), hilarious, likable and empathetic characters.

Set in a New York brimming with neon-rich shades of purple, maroon, yellow and orange (the style is reminiscent of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”), “Entergalactic” stars Kid Cudi as Jabari, a street artist who has recently landed a major deal to turn his graffiti creation “Mr. Rager” into a series of comic books. Shortly after moving into his new, spacious, loft apartment in Manhattan, Jabari runs into his ex-girlfriend Carmen. (In one of the film’s many clever visual touches, the logo on a FedEx truck morphs into a graphic telling us Carmen is the “Ex.”)

Upon hearing about Jabari’s new comic book deal, Carmen’s eyes light up and she suggests they get a drink, soon. Sure enough, Jabari hooks up with Carmen — but in the morning, he makes it clear they should just be friends. It’s time for the next chapter in Jabari’s life.

With Kid Cudi tunes such as “By Design” (with Andre Benjamin), “Do What I Want” and “Willing to Trust” (with Ty Dolla $ign) providing the musical cues, we follow Jabari’s adventures as he gets high with his buddies (as visuals show him riding his bicycle up and away and into the pink skies), working on “Mr. Rager” — and striking up a relationship with a beautiful photographer named Meadow (Jessica Williams) who lives right next door to him. (Upon learning Jabari is considering a romance with a neighbor, his friend tells a fall-down funny story about hooking up with a woman in the laundry room in his building. That sequence alone would earn the film a hard R rating were it a theatrical release.)


Jabari and Carmen stroll through Chinatown in a scene from “Entergalactic.”

Even as “Entergalactic” continues to dazzle us with creative visuals, often involving the countless ways in which light can refract when bouncing off and through windows, a glass of wine, the streets of Chinatown, you name it, the storyline follows that rom- com blueprint. We get the obligatory romantic interlude, walks in the rain, a sex montage and of course a Big Misunderstanding that could easily be cleared up with one simple conversation.

One of the things I loved about “Entergalactic” is how the main characters look like their voice actors, to one degree or another. (Weed dealer Jimmy sort of resembles Timothée Chalamet; Carmen is an exact double for Laura Harrier.) It somehow makes them come across as more “real,” more endearing, more wonderful. This is one of my favorite animated movies of the year.

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