I don't like writing pans - not lately, at least. There used to be some pleasure in it but now I see enough movies that I'm able to just ignore the ones that I don't like and focus more on the good stuff - an act that feels meaningful, at least in my little corner of nowhere, since there's not enough good stuff in the world these days. But sometimes a movie comes along that so aggressively rotten that this dedication to "the good stuff" itself actually feels under assault - as if the movie is reaching through the screen with its fetid talons and digging into the meat of me.
Such is Peppermint. I could let it go if it was just a shoddily pieced together and carelessly shot action movie. I'd love to let that go because I love Jennifer Garner and I want good things for Jennifer Garner - I was excited about Peppermint because I thought it might give me that fun Alias feeling again. But Peppermint is all of those things - shoddy, lazy, and dumb - while also being racist as fuck.
Peppermint is a movie set in 2018 and filmed in Donald Trump's America that is about sparkling clean and innocent white families - little girls who like ponies and ice cream and smile with extraordinary dimples - under assault from bad scary brown men from south of the border. It is astonishingly reckless. It will probably play like gangbusters (now there's a pointed word in this context) for the Fox News Crowd, but - and at the very least Peppermint has given me the right to utter this phrase inside of a movie review - the Fox News Crowd can go fuck themselves.
Peppermint is a movie I walked out of wanting to make excuses for Jennifer Garner for having made it. I just saw this woman act out a beautiful inclusive speech to her gay son in Love Simon a few months ago - what is this Trumpian Filth, JGar? Maybe they reshot all of the bad guy scenes after she made the movie and she didn't realize how racist it all was? Oh wait no she was there on that set inside of a Party City shooting cartoon Mexican Gangbangers and Thugs to a spicy latin beat as fucking pinatas exploded around her, she muuuust have had an inkling. Quite honestly, fuck this movie, and everybody involved with it is on notice.