Ibiza movie review: This Netflix film is an exercise in laughable acting — and it's the only kind of laugh you'll get

Bhaskar Chattopadhyay

May 28, 2018 16:52:21 IST


Alex Richanbach’s new Netflix buddy-comedy Ibiza is a film whose escape velocity is astonishingly low. In other words, you can leave the movie at any point during its 90-minutes run time and return at any time in the future, and — believe me when I tell you this – you won’t miss a thing. It is the sort of film that is so low on content that one wonders what the script of the project – if they ever had one, in the first place – would look like. The movie does have a plot, and it does begin on a promising note, but that note soon vanishes in a heartbeat, much like a piece of camphor on a hot day.

Burnt out PR agency employee Harper (Gillian Jacobs) desperately needs a break to get away from her dull, dreary and extremely exhausting New York corporate life. She is surprised when the opportunity to do so is literally handed over to her on a platter, in the form of a business trip to Barcelona in Spain. When her best friends – the dentist Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) and freelancer Leah (Phoebe Robinson) – hear of her trip, they promptly announce that they are going to tag along with Harper.

Ibiza movie review: This Netflix film is an exercise in laughable acting — and its the only kind of laugh youll get

A still from Ibiza. Image from Twitter.

The three girls land up in Barcelona, all excited and quipping in Spanish (by suffixing everything they say with ‘-ah’, who are you kidding?), but Harper has business meetings to attend to. In the evening, when the girls go clubbing, Harper meets a hot DJ named Leo (Richard Madden), who she immediately falls for. The rest of the film tells the story of how, egged on by her BFFs, Harper goes looking for the DJ to the island of Ibiza, where he is supposed to play at a club.

When you read it on paper, the plot may not sound as threadbare as the film makes it seem. In fact, with a little bit of imagination and a dash of creativity thrown in, one could have made a half-decent film with the same plot. But that was not to be. What you experience, instead, is a drugs, alcohol and sex-fueled rave of pointless – and often dangerous – decisions that the three friends make, all in the name of ‘having fun’. Forget about responsibility – the girls are supposed to be having a good time, after all – some of the things they end up doing on the island of Ibiza are downright crass.

This is not letting one’s hair loose, this is losing one’s hair.

Even if one were to turn a blind eye towards the events of the film, the execution of the entire affair is so shoddy that it makes one squirm. Poor camerawork, characters going out of frame, poor sound design, dwelling on a shot for too long, nefariously ridiculous editing – literally all technical sins of filmmaking are committed in this farce of a film. By the end of Ibiza, you are left exhausted and disgusted at the audacity with which the makers claim their film to be a comedy. Let the record state that there wasn’t a single funny moment – not one – in the entire film. I watched the entire film with a hamming-induced grimace on my face.

To be fair to the film, it does have a good soundtrack, with really cool EDM that play during the club scenes, and some foot-tapping Spanish dance numbers – including the much loved and extremely popular ‘Despacito’ thrown in. But such brief periods of respite are promptly overshadowed by the silly, brash and over-the-top performances of the film’s three leading ladies.

Even the supporting actors – Harper’s boss, played by Michaela Watkins, for instance – do a full time hamming job like there’s no tomorrow. Among the three leading ladies, Jacobs is still tolerable, relatively speaking. But the other two are irritating to the point of you hoping they pass out from all the Ecstasy they pop. But Lord in high heavens, even that does not happen. You are exposed to alarming degrees of stupidity radiating from all and every front, till you can’t take it anymore.

Among the many styles of humour that we have come to know, none can describe what goes on in this film. If anything, it is an excellent exercise in laughable acting. And that’s the only laugh you’re going to get. Although I would myself not wish this film upon even my most heinous of foes, if you must know, Ibiza is currently streaming on Netflix. Forget I said that, though.

Updated Date: May 28, 2018 16:52:21 IST