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By James Sweeney | December 13, 1999

This rollicking sacrament is a six-minute parody of a commercial for a “heavenly” wine cooler, and does NOT feature an openly gay Christ as the poster art suggests. It does however go to great lengths to portray advertisers, particularly those who market alcohol, as crass mack daddies, who pimp-slap “meek and mild” b*****s such as “family” and “religion”.
The two terms commonly applied to this short are irreverent and Pythonesque. The first term is certainly misplaced. Filmmaker Philip Pelletier’s work is anything but irreverent unless we are accusing him of blaspheming the hallowed traditions of beer and alcohol marketing. It is his unseen marketeers, the ones who ACTUALLY made this spot (or would if they could), who stand accused of doing the devil’s work. It is they who employ a waspy Jesus, with the requisite English accent, and his followers as pitchmen who dance in religious and/or drunken reverie, and who reduce a modern day, and also appropriately waspy, Madonna and child to joyful booze-swillers. Essentially, Pelletier is poking fun at a modern marketing machine that, in his estimation, would like nothing better than to cross the uncharted boundaries of religious taboo. He actually ridicules the notion that inappropriate behavior at the expense of revered institutions like Christianity can be marketable and hip. Risky, sure, but hardly irreverent.
The Python reference is more appropriate. The fanfare and animation (the work of production artist Lidner Verne) have that overblown baroque feel typical of Terry Gilliam and Monty Python, and give the short film an impressively expensive look appropriate to the theme of glitzy commercialism. Thank goodness, Ms. Verne did this film because her major credits seem to include a lot of big budget Arnold/Stallone action blockbusters that I purposely missed in the theater.
Pelletier and company have successfully parodied the television marketing industry; perhaps too successfully. Ironically it becomes clear as the parody unfolds that this team could probably be fairly successful in the advertising game. Think about it — this is in essence a SIX MINUTE COMMERCIAL that held my interest, and let me tell you, by the end of the film that cold wet sangre de christo was looking mighty tempting.

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