Freakonomics

Freakonomics Image
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58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 18 Ratings

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  • Summary: Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Casino Jack and the United States of Money) delivers a visually arresting look at the crumbling facade of Sumo wrestling and exposes searing and violent truths about this ancient and revered sport. Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) offers up aAlex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Casino Jack and the United States of Money) delivers a visually arresting look at the crumbling facade of Sumo wrestling and exposes searing and violent truths about this ancient and revered sport. Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) offers up a buoyant and revealing angle on the repercussions of baby names. Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) balance levity and candor with their eye-opening profile of underachieving kids incentivized to learn with cold hard cash. Finally, Eugene Jarecki, who brought us the unforgettably powerful Why We Fight, investigates an unsettling theory to explain why crime rates dramatically dropped in the early '90s. Seth Gordon (The King of Kong) weaves the pieces together with brisk interludes, providing context and commentary from the authors. Freakonomics exposes the hidden side of everything, debunking conventional wisdom, and revealing what answers may come if one just asks the right questions. (Magnolia Pictures) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. 75
    A brisk and lively cinematic Cliff's Notes of the 2005 nonfiction bestseller that made the lofty promise to reveal "the hidden side of everything."
  2. 75
    Freaknomics is breezy, but you can't help but think it belongs on TV, where the filmmakers would have gotten more time with their subjects and the tone mightn't seem so forced.
  3. Freakonomics is uneven, and even a little cloying, but its sum effect isn't bad.
  4. Overall, these brief sections, which feature both authors on camera, come off more like self-congratulatory infomercials than they should.
  5. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    60
    This frisky adaptation of the Steven Levitt-Stephen Dubner bestseller on human behavior by the numbers adds up to a revelatory trip into complex, innovative ideas and altered perspectives on how people think.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    60
    Freakonomics' commercial success reflected the once-fashionable notion that economics could explain, well, everything.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    38
    An attempt to turn the 2005 nonfiction bestseller into a high-energy docu-romp, Freakonomics is a misconceived botch.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Jun 7, 2012
    7
    Really, this is a great film, but in a flawed disguise. The stereotype that documentaries are boring can be true, but itâ
  2. Mar 20, 2011
    1
    I've read the book, which was indubitably very interesting, even if it some claims seemed a tad far-fetched. The documentary, however, hasI've read the book, which was indubitably very interesting, even if it some claims seemed a tad far-fetched. The documentary, however, has several problems.
    Firstly, each chapter of the book can EASILY-- actually, SHOULD-- be a documentary of its own. The data used to back up the claims is fairly poor and weak, which is a shame, because some of the ideas really are interesting to explore. But with so little time devoted to them, they don't seem credible. The problem with this documentary and the book is that it makes no effort to refute any counterarguments-- and there are MANY possible ones. It is incredibly easy to lie with statistics and spin numbers to work for you. Furthermore, to be frank, I found Dubner and Levitt's commentary extremely annoying. I felt like they were lecturing first graders. The main problem with making a documentary that attempts to make an argument is that you have to do it in a way that does not make the viewers feel manipulated, which is very difficult (Michael Moore, for instance, sucks at it). And one such as this does not make a solid case for any of its claims and left me with a huge pile of questions. Even if what they say really is true, I can't buy it, because the evidence is presented in such a slapdash, half-baked kind of way.
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