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Review: 'GMO OMG' plants a lively seed of thought

Jeremy Seifert uses a light, entertaining approach in his survey of the controversial issue of genetically modified organisms.

September 19, 2013|By Gary Goldstein
  • A scene from "GMO OMG."
A scene from "GMO OMG." (Handout )

In these IM and text-happy days, it's likely more people know what the letters OMG stand for than the meaning of GMO. But if filmmaker Jeremy Seifert has his way, that may change as a result of his lively, thought-provoking documentary "GMO OMG," which surveys the controversial, unreconciled presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in most of our non-organic foods.

It's a complex issue that writer-director Seifert attacks in a largely personal, loosey-goosey way. While the movie rarely feels like the definitive, well-honed dissection this critical subject demands, his lighter approach keeps a somewhat arcane topic more easily digestible, dare say entertaining.

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Seifert, who also narrates, appears on screen throughout, often with his adorable, camera-ready small sons in tow, as he travels across the U.S. and the globe questioning farmers, seed experts, activists and scientists. En route, he explores the potentially harmful effects of such genetically modified crops as corn, soybeans and canola, and the corporate manipulation of seed supplies and their use in conjunction with now omnipresent, weed-resistant (hence, crop yield-increasing) pesticides. Not surprisingly, reps from Monsanto, the big daddy of engineered seed purveyors, denied Seifert's interview requests.

Conclusive answers are few here, though the featured farmers make convincing, real-world cases for — and against — planting patented GMO seeds. Still, if forewarned is forearmed, Seifert's movie might one day prove quite prescient.

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"GMO OMG." No MPAA Rating. Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes. At the Arena Cinema, Hollywood; Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex, Santa Monica

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