500 Days Of Film Reviews Ibiza Starring Gillian Jacobs, Vanessa Bayer And Phoebe Robinson

Harper (Gillian Jacobs) is a single thirty-something New Yorker with awesome friends she loves and a dead-end job she hates. When her controlling, condescending, germophobic nightmare of a boss sends her on a business trip to Barcelona, Harper jumps at the chance to shake up her routine. 


Flanked by her two best pals - Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) and Leah (Phoebe Robinson) - Harper lets loose in the land of Sangria, where a bit of surprising body graffiti leads to a flirty encounter with a famous DJ (Richard Madden).


Is It Any Good?

“A wild romantic-comedy adventure with female friendship as its beating heart*”... this is the film Ibiza desperately wants to be - a refreshing tale of female solidarity and fun. Sadly, the  reality of watching Alex Richanbach’s Netflix Original movie is different… and not in a good way.


The potential for comedy is certainly here. Jacobs, Bayer and Robinson all give likable (and committed) performances. Indeed, they throw themselves into their roles - often physically. However, Ibiza (based on a screenplay by Lauryn Kahn) does not develop its central friendship enough to give the movie anything like a “beating heart”.


As a result, despite (and also because of) the obvious talents of its three central characters - Harper, Leah and Nikki - Ibiza feels like a wasted opportunity. 



There are moments of fun to be had in Ibiza and not all of them are displayed in the trailer. Sparky signs of the (better) movie this could have been - a film where women are allowed to party and not face crushing consequences. 


However, these moments aside, Ibiza’s series of chaotic comedy set pieces just did not work for me - even as I appreciated the abilities of Jacobs, Bayer and Robinson. They all deserved a more compelling narrative. 


Meanwhile, the plot of Ibiza hangs on the chemistry between Harper and the D-J that she meets in Spain - Richard Madden’s Leo. While their relationship was refreshing in some respects, it also felt rather bland. I just could not see why Harper would put her life and career at risk to follow him to Ibiza.


Don't get me wrong, I am all for comedies that put female friendship first. Sadly, Ibiza could not deliver this... despite its potential.


Random Observations

*A quotation taken from the film’s press notes.


Ibizza or Ibitha… interesting...


Ibiza was actually shot in Serbia and Croatia.


The club scenes were created in actual discos with 1,000 extras.


Have you seen Ibiza? If you have, what did you think of this film? Let me know in the comments section below or let’s chat over on Twitter. You can find me @500DaysOfFilm.

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones

E: jane@500daysoffilm.com


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