The girly vacation genre gets another entry with “Ibiza,” in which stressed-out New York City publicist Harper (Gillian Jacobs) gets her groove back in the clubs of southern Spain. One would think that with last year’s “Girls Trip,” the well would feel dry, but “Ibiza” surprises with some darker themes and oddball humor in the script by Lauryn Kahn, and a compelling lead performance from Jacobs.
Director Alex Richanbach employs a sharp stylistic contrast between dim and dreary New York City and vibrant Spain, where Harper is sent by her shrew of a boss (Michaela Watkins) to land a sangria client. Her two besties, Leah (Phoebe Robinson) and Nikki (Vanessa Bayer), tag along to help the neurotic Harper make all the wrong decisions along the way.
In Barcelona, after a DJ named Leo (Richard Madden) saves Harper’s life, or at least her dignity, she falls for him and impulsively flies to his next gig in Ibiza.
It’s a familiar story, an anxious city dweller risking it all and finding herself in the process, but with stylistic panache and genuine chemistry between the pals, “Ibiza” just works. It’s a satisfying girl-power fable tucked inside a frothy, raunchy international romp that actually makes the clubs of Ibiza look appealing. Bayer is laugh-out-loud hilarious as loopy dentist Nikki, and every malapropism or random aside she spouts is pure comic genius.
Although the script relies on gross-out body humor more often than it needs to, it manages to be deeper and more resonant than most girls gone wild comedies. A truly enjoyable trip.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Playing: Streaming on Netflix