Documentary ‘GMO OMG’ needs a more knowledgeable crusader

Jeremy Seifert (with kids) tries to get the bottom of a controversial health issue in "GMO OMG." Credit: Submarine Deluxe
Jeremy Seifert (with kids) tries to get the bottom of a controversial health issue in “GMO OMG.”
Credit: Submarine Deluxe

‘GMO OMG’
Director: Jeremy Seifert
Genre: Documentary
2 (out of 5) Globes

Citizen journalism has a long history of getting unsanctioned news out to the masses. But there are always incompetents who ruin it for everyone. An activist documentary like “GMO OMG” does just that. Its filmmaker, Jeremy Seifert — a shaggy, hippie-ish Californian who looks a little distractingly like Peter Dinklage — adopts the usual faux-naif first-person vibe that seems de rigeur in activist documentaries. The topic is genetically modified organisms, which may or may not be introducing cancerous elements into our food.

Thing is, Seifert doesn’t come off as a faux-naif. He comes off as a real naif, who seems to have little to no idea what he’s talking about. He’s a likable guy off on a good cause, but he also seems like he just heard a couple things, has been suitably freaked out, yet is in well over his head. He thinks pluck and charm might atone for his investigative shortcomings.

As any light snooping will reveal, the subject tof GMOs is not a cut-and-dry issue. Not even all GMOs are bad, as the film admits. But the lack of regulation, plus the draconian measures of biotech company Monsanto — who force American farmers to use their own, modified seeds and refuse transparency — make GMOs an easy target for sloppy filmmakers wishing to stir up a scare.

And stir Seifert does. He trots out his kids, asking himself (and us) if we can stomach feeding them foods whose origins are in question, that might (but might not) cause cancer. (That’s if one of the many other scenarios from the many other doomsday docs don’t get us first.) To his credit, Seifert recognizes he could be wrong, and even acknowledges the temptation toward even obviously unhealthy foods, like ice cream on a hot summer’s day. He seizes upon experts, both scientists and farmers. He gets a mixed-up story. Even the good guys can’t agree completely on the evil of GMOs. Some say it’s a crapshoot: that even carefully regulated GMOs can be susceptible to dangerous elements.

It’s times like this that “GMO OMG” demands a seasoned snooper, not some admitted ignoramus, especially one who would put “OMG” in the title of his movie. (Such silliness doesn’t jibe well with the subject, his apocalyptic prognosis nor numerous montages set to triumphant music and filled with emptily stirring images.) Does Seifert deserve credit for spreading awareness of a problem and starting a conversation? Of course. He gets an “A” (or at least a “B”) for effort, but a much lower grade for follow-through.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.