IN ‘IBIZA’ A SUM­MER COM­EDY, STREAM­ING AT HOME

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Film -

So long a sta­ple of the moviego­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, the sum­mer com­edy has fallen on hard times. There are hardly any on this sea­son’s re­lease sched­ule, and one of the more promis­ing can­di­dates — “Ibiza,” star­ring the ter­rific Gil­lian Ja­cobs and the for­mer “Satur­day Night Live” cast mem­ber Vanessa Bayer — isn’t play­ing in the­aters but is stream­ing on Net­flix.

In most ways, “Ibiza” doesn’t dif­fer greatly from the latear­riv­ing post-”Brides­maids” ilk of raunchy fe­male-led road trip come­dies. Ja­cobs (“Love,” ‘’Com­mu­nity”) plays an angstrid­den, sin­gle New Yorker named Harper whose in­tensely cruel,

germa­phobe boss (the ex­cel­lent Michaela Watkins) dis­patches her to Barcelona on a busi­ness trip to land a San­gria client for their pub­lic re­la­tions com­pany.

Harper’s two best friends, Nikki (Bayer) and Leah (Phoebe Robin­son of “2 Dope Queens”) in­sist on com­ing along. When the nor­mally ret­i­cent Harper pur­sues a DJ love in­ter­est (Richard Mad­den, a.k.a. Robb Stark on “Game of Thrones”), their Euro­pean trip takes an im­promptu de­tour to Spain’s night­club des­ti­na­tion.

The out­line of “Ibiza” isn’t promis­ing. A movie geared around a hot Ibiza DJ sounds like a straight-to-video Zac Efron movie. And find­ing true love in the EDM-blar­ing clubs of Ibiza is prob­a­bly about as likely as dis­cov­er­ing the mean­ing of life on spring break at Lake Havasu.

But “Ibiza,” scripted by Lau­ryn Kahn and di­rected by Alex Richan­bach (both Funny Or Die vet­er­ans and dis­ci­ples of “Ibiza” pro­ducer Adam McKay and Will Fer­rell) has a loose, nat­u­ral rhythm that eas­ily sur­passes its cliche frame­work.

And un­like some of its fore­run­ners, “Ibiza” doesn’t feel like it’s stretch­ing to stitch to­gether a few mem­o­rable set pieces. It works best when the three are just in a ho­tel room or the back seat of a cab be­cause the chem­istry be­tween the trio is earnestly win­ning.

Ja­cobs has by now be­come an ex­pert in sar­cas­tic, wounded, re­silient char­ac­ters, and she holds “Ibiza” to­gether just as surely as she does an episode of “Love,” also a Net­flix ti­tle. As lu­di­crous as it sounds, her bud­ding ro­mance with Mad­den’s fa­mous DJ comes across as quite gen­uine; they be­liev­ably fall in love at first sight, brought to­gether by that ever­green valen­tine: a crude draw­ing un­know­ingly sten­ciled across Harper’s face.

And while the ge­nial Robin­son is also a key part of the group, “Ibiza” most be­longs to Bayer. In her largest movie role yet, the for­mer “SNL”er (she de­parted last year af­ter seven sea­sons) plays the Melissa McCarthyesque role of hap­less side­kick, but with a more sub­tle and shy comic en­ergy to her phys­i­cal com­edy. She’s al­ways been a stand­out ensem­ble per­former, but “Ibiza” makes a good ar­gu­ment that Bayer can do more. Whether sun­burnt bright red on the Span­ish beach or re­count­ing her post-”SNL” Sun­day rou­tine, Bayer ex­cels at the com­edy of be­ing her­self.

If “Ibiza,” a sweet and silly ro­man­tic com­edy, was on the big screen, it might have pushed it­self to­ward big­ger gags. But the smaller scale works well in a genre that in­creas­ingly feels like a gross-out scene arms race. Here, Bayer does plenty with a sim­ple ho­tel bed that she ex­cit­edly jumps on, not re­al­iz­ing it’s two fulls pushed to­gether.

From left: Phoebe Robin­son, Vanessa Bayer and Gil­lian Ja­cobs in a scene from “Ibiza.”

Richard Mad­den

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