Ibiza (2018) – Review

Ibiza is now streaming on Netflix.

By Matthew Parkinson

I think it’s weird that in 2018 we are getting an R-rated remake of The Lizzie McGuire Movie released on Netflix, but that’s just what the world is like nowadays. Oh, you think I’m wrong about Ibiza? A young woman goes on an overseas business trip but winds up falling in love with a foreign musician. Which movie am I describing? That’s right, both of them! Sure, this one doesn’t have much music and ignores the whole doppelganger subplot, but they’re basically the same. It’s just that this one has sex jokes.

Okay, so there are other differences. The lead here is Harper (Gillian Jacobs), an awkward publicist who is sent to Barcelona to secure a client. Her best friends (Vanessa Bayer and Phoebe Robinson) tag along, and they spend their time partying and making jokes. Harper falls for a DJ (Richard Madden), and the group eventually finds itself in Ibiza trying to track him down—with a client meeting the next day! Will she find him in time and be able to get back for the meeting? Find out on the next episode of … wait a second. This is a movie.

So, the stakes are low, the plot is essentially just an excuse for these three women to hang out, make jokes, get into the most minor of trouble possible, and maybe do a bit of growing along the way. Ibiza‘s lack of content starts poking its head through about a third of the way through when we begin to realize that this is all that it has going for it. It’s only a step up from a vacation movie from the likes of Adam Sandler—except this one has some laughs.

I’d like to stress the word “some” in that sentence, since the jokes are intermittent and eventually feel repetitive. The two best friends are one-note characters, doing and saying the same type of thing over and over to the point of tedium. Harper is awkward and maybe a little lacking in self-confidence, so you can guess where her humor and arc are coming from and going. The problem is most of the situations in which the characters find themselves aren’t very funny, crazy, or interesting. That might be more realistic but it doesn’t make for great entertainment.

The chemistry between the cast members is palpable and it’s one of the reasons it takes a third of the way through Ibiza to become aware of its lack of content. The dialogue isn’t bad, the actors are solid, and they play off one another really well. It just becomes too much of the same after a while. Early on, when they’re just getting to riff and hang out for a bit, it’s fun. But then the film adds nothing to the mix, and we soon become tired of it.

Ibiza is a travel comedy that lacks plot, stakes, and purpose. It’s fun for a little while, but at the point it should be adding new things into the mix, it just sticks with what it’s been doing and becomes tiring. The cast members have solid chemistry, although their characters are too weak and the situations in which they find themselves are too vanilla to interest us. Like many Netflix Original Movies, it’ll be best served as pleasant background noise, half-watched while playing games on your phone. And that’s sad.

Ibiza has some laughs but not enough to recommend as anything other than half-watch material.

I give Ibiza a D+.


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