It is, in my opinion, childish, rude and moronic that an adult can't shut up for a couple of hours during a movie. And yet, there is an entire demographic audience that has yet to learn how to shut up during a film, yet complains that there aren't enough films made that target them.


Such was the case when I screened director Reginald Hudlin's latest film, "Marshall". Two late attending people sat down in the full house and ran their mouths like two-year-olds, refusing to shut up. So this review will be a reflection of my bad disposition upon exiting the theater.


Hudlin's film covers what amounts to a small barely significant trial involving Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) concerning a elitist white woman named Ellie Strubing (Kate Hudson) who accused her Negro chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling Brown) of raping her multiple times then tossing her into a water reservoir.

The film has Marshall, as lead attorney for NAACP, riding into town to try the case and hopefully bring more awareness to the organization. The NAACP had been focusing most of it's attention in the south and it was thought that this would enlighten the rest of teh nation that the North wasn't that much better.


According to Connecticut judicial rules, because Marshall was from out of state, he would need an in-state co-council to introduce him to the court. That co-council would be Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) who was goaded into the case by his partner/brother Irwin (John Magaro). The presiding judge Foster (James Cromwell) allowed Marshal only to sit as co-council, but not try the case himself. According to the film.


Friedman is portrayed as pretty much a half-wit insurance attorney handling only menial insurance injury claims. Marshall would have to teach him everything and guide him through the process of a criminal trial with civil rights overtones. According to the film.

During the initial interview with Joseph, he denies ever laying a hand on Ellie, let alone having sex with her. That leaves Thurgood to figure out what happened and solve the huge mystery. According to the film.


The film delves into jury selection, searching for clues, investigating the crime scene and Marshall's interest in having a child with his wife Buster (Keesha Sharp). All this is fine in entertaining the idiot sitting next to me, but very little of what the film protrays is vaguely acurate.


In reality, Joseph confesses to having sex with Ellie four times that night in question; but the sex was consensual. Friedman was not the incompetent dolt portrayed, but a very astute attorney who was quite comfortable trying the case (and Marshall was comfortable letting him do so). The one thing the film did get correct was that the case was so insignificant, Marshall didn't stick around for the verdict. In fact, in real life, neither did Friedman.


It is almost sad that Hudlin (best known for "House Party", "Boomerang", and "The Ladies Man") would focus on a case that hardly draw a blip on Marshall's radar of achievments when it could have focused on his trial of "Brown vs The Board of Education" and other significant case he tried. But this film is geared to stir reactions from people like the two idiots sitting next to me who couldn't shut up.


Boseman was only average in yet another portrayal by him of another historical African American figure. This time, he is looks even less like the subject - he did manage to get James Brown right in "Get On Up". For what it was worth, Josh Gad takes to the role as a dolt very well, however, he doesn't look anything like the real Sam Friedman. Sterling Brown and Kate Hudson were both convincing in their respective roles; too bad their effort were wasted on such trivia.


In his brief appearance, Jessie Smollett pulls off a very convincing Langston Hughes as does Rozonda Thomas as Zora Hurston.


"Marshall" is a useless piece of fluff that exploits a case that was hardly important in Thurgood Marshall's career, but just might be interesting enough for the targeted audience to run their mouths incessently while it's screening.   -- GEOFF BURTON