Peppermint, the new revenge thriller starring Jennifer Garner, seems to have sprung into existence overnight and arrived in theaters with little fanfare. The title registers no recognition, but say “the new Jennifer Garner movie,” and you’re in business. Whether it’s lingering love for her ass-kicking roots in Alias or a near-universal #TeamJennifer sensibility in the wake of her split from Ben Affleck, it seems the world is ready to watch Jennifer Garner dispense some justice. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s all that really matters about Peppermint.
This should come as fortunate news to those with an interest in its box office performance. If affection for Jennifer Garner is enough to fill seats, it’s also the only thing that will keep the average viewer engaged with Peppermint. The plot is laughably transparent. The dialogue is stiff and predictable. John Gallagher Jr. is a complete miscast. The whole thing feels more like a vigilante video game than the gritty narrative it aspires to be. John Ortiz is the only member of the main cast outside of Garner who seems to be aware of this fact. And his borderline sarcastic spin makes the scenes where we followed the baffled boys in blue palatable enough. Still, everything that’s not Jen acting the avenging angel is an exercise is waiting to see when she’ll be back and what she’ll get up to next.
That’s not really enough to sustain a narrative, but in the grand tradition of Taken, that’s likely not to make much of a difference when word gets out that Jennifer Garner is chewing the scenery with a kind of relish that demands delight, and even a kind of respect. The summer season deserved one last wild ride, and Peppermint will serve just fine.