"You can't handle the brief!" "It's. . .the pelicans!" Not actual lines in the movie. Sorry, I feel asleep for a second while writing about this. The second of the great Grisham boom of the 1990s, a decade I'll always think of as the decade of the legal thriller. Long and sluggish, "The Pelican Brief" is one of the weakest in the Grisham film canon. Did director Alan J. Pakula, who directed far superior political thrillers like "All the President's Men," tell Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington to have zero chemistry? There is a huge supporting cast, which is kinda fun. Clearly they set it up for a sequel that never happened, "The Pelican Brief 2: Night of the Pelicans." Came out the same year as "The Firm."