Critics Consensus

More disjointed and less compelling than the book it's based on, Freakonomics isn't quite as entertaining or educational as it should be.



Reviews Counted: 64

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Average Rating: 3.4/5

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Movie Info

FREAKONOMICS is the highly anticipated film version of the phenomenally bestselling book about incentives-based thinking by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Like the book, the film examines human behavior with provocative and sometimes hilarious case studies, bringing together a dream team of filmmakers responsible for some of the most acclaimed and entertaining documentaries in recent years: Academy Award (R) winner Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Casino Jack and the United States of Money), Academy Award (R) nominees Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp), Academy Award (R) nominee Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) and Seth Gordon (The King of Kong).-- (C) Magnolia

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Critic Reviews for Freakonomics

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (18)

Merely proves that a batch of bite-sized featurettes does not automatically add up to a satisfying meal.

Dec 2, 2010 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Freakonomics is, much like the book that spawned it, a breezy entertainment that leaves you with a lot to think about.

Oct 20, 2010 | Rating: 3/4

When this freakumentary hooks up with Urail King, it gets an A.

Oct 12, 2010 | Full Review…

The film is provocative but also scattershot and not nearly as conclusive as it pretends to be.

Oct 8, 2010 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Sometimes, it has all the answers. More often, it just asks the right questions. And in today's 24-hour froth of insta-pundit analysis, we need curiosity more than certainty.

Oct 2, 2010 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Some parts of the movie are more satisfying and intriguing than others, but there are enough surprising and non-intuitive revelations that even the most jaded viewer will likely learn a thing or two.

Oct 2, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Freakonomics

Seperate documentary segments made into a movie. Some were interesting, some were boring. The teenage boy in the last segment was so dumb I wanted to shake him.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Economics is a harsh subject to swallow, much like the greens your mother forced down your throat during childhood. Still, the case studies presented by a variety of Academy Award nominated directors and writers was at least entertaining and educational in the same as Sesame Street. Society is asked the simple questions: Does a name matter when comparing economic standing? Can children be bribed to get good grades? Is sumo wrestling a fixed competitive sport? The voice was definitely wry, with commentary by the authors of the book it's based upon; Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Interesting, but at times I felt like I was bungling through another high school econ. exam.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


Interesting concepts discussed, but too much time was spent on the corruption of Sumo and the subtitles for that section were poorly done.

Thomas Johnston
Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer


This documentary is for people who have neglected to read the book. It features four chapters from the book which were picked up by different directors and expanded for the film. In terms of what Levitt and Dubner bring to the screen, the film is worth 5 stars in my book. All they ask if for the people of the world to ask new questions about certain phenomenons in our world and they give it to the viewer in a tangible and intriguing way. However, we are not here to review their information, we are here to review the film. The first segment in the film is directed by Morgan Spurlock, whose likability eludes me. While he deserves credit for using his body as a laboratory for his film Supersize Me, I think this segment proves my point that he is better suited for making after school specials than major films. He especially looks amateur when Alex Gibney's section of the film comes on next. His segment is executed with the care that the subject requires and his visual storytelling is superior by leaps and bounds. While the last two segments are very interesting, they feel a bit premature. It seemed as though the producers had two strong segments and they put in the final two so they could fill 90 minutes. Again, the information is there and overall this piece came together fairly well. If only Gibney would have produced all of the segments and excised the underdeveloped segments, then this movie would have been a stunning achievement.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

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