Freakonomics: A Lighthearted Romantic Comedy Starring Drew Barrymore

New York magazine, riffing on Drew Barrymore‘s starring role in the film adaptation of He’s Just Not That Into You, suggests 10 other self-help books that should be Barrymore vehicles, including Freakonomics:

Drew Barrymore stars as a free-spirited Northwestern economics grad student who ventures into the Cabrini Green projects on the south side of Chicago to research the lives of drug dealers. Along the way, she finds herself drawn to a dashing young man (Tristan Wilds, The Wire) who yearns to escape the lifestyle and move with her to the suburbs of Evanston. The two quickly begin falling for each other, but one thing stands in the way of their blossoming romance: the fact that he still lives with his hilariously outspoken mother (Martin Lawrence).

Not bad, but why Northwestern? Is the University of Chicago just too eggheady? Anyway, we bet you could think of a few other storylines from the book that Barrymore might fit. For instance:

Drew Barrymore as the girlfriend of the last honest sumo wrestler (Masi Oka, Heroes), who puts it all on the line when he’s asked to rig a match to help his sumo-wrestling best friend (John Cho, Harold & Kumar)?

Drew Barrymore stars as a girl named Loser, whose romantically frustrated sister and Realtor, Winner (Katherine Marie Heigl, Gray’s Anatomy), becomes jealous when Loser finds the man of her dreams (Matthew McConaughey)?

BTW: If Freakonomics is a “self-help” book, then the Bible is a how-to.

Howard Tayler

Let's see... not five minutes ago I was reading pp214-217 and thinking that perhaps Robert's olive-oil trick might work for me in conjunction with other diet and exercise that my own self-experimentation has shown to work.

That's self-help, right there.

I suppose it's now time to open the Bible again. There's lots of "how" I need some "to" for.

Dr. Obvious

"Drew Barrymore stars as a free-spirited Northwestern economics grad student...."

I couldn't get past this line. It's just too funny.

Brian R. Murphy

1) Yes, U of C is too "eggheady". Additionally, I have never seen an even marginally attractive economics grad student in Hyde Park.

2) This description has taught me that Evanston has "suburbs". Who knew?

3) How does something like this get funding? Can my partially completed screenplay be posted as collateral with the Federal Reserve?


Could be because Northwestern is on the North side, providing for some more significant contrasts relative to what U of C could provide. The neighborhood around NU is very different than that around University of Chicago.

Dr. Obvious

Btw, the reason they would pick Northwestern instead of Chicago is that the masses of movie people who went to Northwestern have made it Hollywood's go-to university.

Also, Cabrini Green is on the North Side of Chicago.


Have you ever read or see teh play Top Dog/Under Dog? The two characters are brothers named Lincoln and Booth....interesting play, I think you'd like it.

Bobby G

It's self-help on how to think like a smart person?


To think: they could have made a plot with Joliet Junior College and the free spirited design student at the stateville prisoner's tailoring program. (historically) Especially since being poor is kinda in, well if you aren't an "elitist". Heck they could have ended up in Naperville shopping in a Bolingbrook IKEA.


I suppose "Drew Barrymore gets an abortion" wasn't really a viable plot line.....

david jay

As her criminal son is led into the gas chamber, Drew Barrymoore ('s character) is given the chance to see what the world would be like if she had gotten an abortion to prevent being a single mother on welfare many years ago.

C. Larity

Drew Barrymore stars as the sister of a young boy who befriends an extraterrestrial with a peace offering of Reese's Pieces...

What do you mean it's been done?

Andrew Power

Nerdy economist Steve (Micheal Cera) meets recently bereaved lifeguard Stephanie (Drew Barrymore) while conducting survey on child death rates in swimming pools.

An instructive romance develops, where Steve learns that you can't measure happiness any more than grief.

Hmmm. Not amusing.


We could mix it with The Butterfly Effect (pretty sure that movie name is a misnomer though) and Freakonomics. Drew Barrymore goes back in time as a "prolifer" and stops Roe v. Wade, comes back to 1996 and America is an anarchist theocracy because of all the crime and evangelicalism.

Hizzla Brown

Because everybody knows that while Northwestern girls can grow up to be pretty actresses (e.g. Julia Louis-Dreyfus), UChicago girls are fugz 4 lyfe.

Jason B

@Brian R Murphy. Your point #3 is genius. Thanks...

david jay

Drew Barrymoore runs an honesty-pay bagel delivery service and falls in love with a handsome businessman on her route. But when she learns he and other top-floor executives are stealing her bagels, the relationship might develop holes...

Mark Graham

Wow, glad everyone liked it! We corrected the south side / north side thing, by the way -- my memories of the movie 'Candyman' were fuzzy and I neglected to fact check. And re: the Northwestern vs. U. Chicago debate, Dr. Obvious nailed the reason (well, that and the fact that I am a Big Ten alum myself).


As a Northwestern student, this is because

a) Econ grad students at NU are way hotter than UChicago grad students.

b) Evanston = suburbs = yuppy. UChicago = city = edgy. We want Drew Barrymore to be the former.


As a Northwestern student, this is because

a) Econ grad students at NU are way hotter than UChicago grad students.

b) Evanston = suburbs = yuppie. UChicago = city = edgy. We want Drew Barrymore to be the former.


Drew Barrymore plays Carla Gravone, an economics grad student at Princeton, who drives back to Newark to the deathbed of her father, Carlo "Charlie Freak'' Gravone. His dying wish is that she, his only child, take over from him as capo.
She doesn't know anything about being a gangster, but she calls in a series of Professors to advise her on Behavioral Economics, Game Theory, etc., and pretty soon she's the most successful boss in Jersey.
However, when she announces that she's going to make the family completely legitimate within 18 months, the made guys see themselves heading for the scrapheap, and begin to plot against her. She gets wind of this, and makes a phone call to Chicago, and Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy fly into town and whack the revolting Vinnies in a grand guignol shown intercut with Drew successfully defending her thesis, White Shoes,Threat and Bluff at Princeton.