Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
Watch On
  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
    An invigorating and surprising journey.
  3. Freakonomics is uneven, and even a little cloying, but its sum effect isn't bad.
  4. 75
    Taken as a whole, Freakonomics feels almost like an extended episode of 60 Minutes with a lot of childish animation and some awkward connecting sequences.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Documentaries don't fly on figures, or even controversial arguments; they come to life with real, engaging people. And when this freakumentary hooks up with Urail King, it gets an A.
  7. 67
    Like the 2005 bestseller that inspired it, the movie version of Freakonomics is fleet and accessible, an enjoyably light and lively pop artifact aimed at bringing some unusual economic theories to the masses.
  8. The film is provocative but also scattershot and not nearly as conclusive as it pretends to be. The almost complete absence of naysayers in any of the sections is a tip-off that the game is rigged.
  9. Lots of ideas are tossed around in Freakonomics, and it often feels as though one is trapped in some kind of pop centrifuge. None of the authors' arguments is contested in any way, and the zippiness of the film paints everything with a Teflon sheen.
  10. 65
    Best in show is the final chapter, by "Jesus Camp" directors Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing. "Can A Ninth Grader Be Bribed To Succeed?" is as straightforward a title as the others are oblique.
  11. Reviewed by: Loey Lockerby
    Oct 22, 2010
    It's intellectual snack food, satisfying for a little while but always leaving you hungry for more.
  12. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    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.
  13. 60
    The end result is more like a supermarket on Saturday afternoon. The content is engaging, though.
  14. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Freakonomics' commercial success reflected the once-fashionable notion that economics could explain, well, everything.
  15. Despite a roster of off-kilter documentarians each directing an episode, Freakonomics only partly delivers the sense of traipsing into uncharted territory.
  16. Overall, these brief sections, which feature both authors on camera, come off more like self-congratulatory infomercials than they should.
  17. As a movie, Freakonomics is like Jujubes for the brain - it starts to get cloying halfway through the box.
  18. Like the source material, it's ultimately less than the sum of its parts -- an assemblage of moderately interesting human interest stories that don't carry much weight on the big screen.
  19. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    A quartet of uneven TV pilots posing as a full-length documentary.
  20. The movie as a whole is a mixed bag, offering up stiff shots of skepticism and a few provocative thoughts on correlation and causality.
  21. The jocular screen adaptation of the 2005 best seller "Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" is a shallow but diverting alternative to the book.
  22. From a consumer perspective, you're better off skipping the movie and putting your money toward their book instead.
  23. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    An attempt to turn the 2005 nonfiction bestseller into a high-energy docu-romp, Freakonomics is a misconceived botch.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Jun 7, 2012
    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
    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.
    Full Review »