Hard-partying friends and a young girl lusting for a famous DJ forms the basis of Netflix Original Ibiza but unfortunately, despite the party beats, the gags and the storyline falls flat in a typically generic Netflix movie.
What are we expecting from Netflix Original Ibiza? I guess a lot of sex, partying, drama and drugs.
You get all of that but first, it is crucial to discuss the leading female actress. The most fascinating aspect of the industry-experienced Gillian Jacob is her tenacity to place herself in situational comedy. In the beloved Netflix series Love, which was unfortunately rushed and canceled, she was prone to make best of an awkward atmosphere which formed the basis of her character development. Her talents are used in Netflix Original Ibiza, where she plays Harper, a corporate ladder building professional at a PR company who send her to Spain to lead on an important work meeting.
As peculiar as it gets, her hard-partying friends are for some reason allowed to jump on a plane with her to Spain, which as you can guess causes the diversions to go off-course and partake in un-business-like events. Netflix’s Ibiza swerves the sleaziness of the party life by scripting the girls commentating on women’s breasts on the beach; this was clearly a ploy to prevent accusations of sexualising women for the purpose of the plot, but at the end of the day, the setting is a party life on the beach; there are going to be topless people, men and women. But hey, this excuses the behavior and language for the rest of the movie.
Putting aside the obvious safety in the writing, the party-life environment and her trouble-causing friends, the story of Ibiza is essentially about Harper pursuing a quickly progressive fling with a famous DJ, who she meets amongst a promiscuous club. If you relish this kind of club scene, which I do, then you will appreciate the generic beats. Unfortunately I have a baby, so my life is over, and if you are in the same prison sentence as me, you will wait for when your child turns 18 years old, where you will be snarked at for being in your mid-40s and most likely having a mid-life crisis, whilst trying to keep up with the kids on molly.
By the way, how do you say Ibiza? I discussed this with my partner and we were both convinced it is pronounced “i-beef-a” but apparently, according to the three women in the film it’s pronounced as exactly as it looks – “i-bee-za”. Maybe I am wrong, but regardless, it reminds me of when an American says they are off to Europe on holiday.
Anyway, putting aside the party-fuelled movie, the jokes do not land effectively and suffer from the usual Netflix trope of applying a generic storyline to generic characters with a generic filmmaking approach. The Netflix Original relies on a few filler scenes where the characters are partying, just to clearly hit the running time before the next empty gag. Ibiza is predicated on Harper making her way to Ibiza to find her heartthrob DJ, who is apparently making little effort to find her. In essence, Harper has risked her entire career to travel to Ibiza rather than attending a business proposition.
You will not care if she finds her DJ in the end. Netflix’s Ibiza will make you shut down the streaming platform and go out partying. The movie will also bring up fond memories of drawing penises on your friend’s face with a glow pen and seeking mindless sex every night of the week. I have a lot of time for Gillian Jacobs but I genuinely believe she can do better than this.