Shit & Champagne is a 2020 drag comedy from writer/director/star D'Arcy Drollinger. After exotic dancer Champagne sees her boyfriend murdered she goes undercover to find the source of the deadly Booty Bump speed shots and the villainous CEO of Mall-Wart, Dixie Stampede. Based on Drollinger’s long-running stage show, this adaptation stars many of the theater actors as well as other recognizable names within the drag community. The Blu-ray from Utopia and Vinegar Syndrome sports an excellent A/V package and enough bonus features for curious fans of the stage show and the film. For Fans Only.
“Save your sick fantasies for daytime television.”
Champagne Horowitz Jones Dickerson White (D’Arcy Drollinger) is an exotic dancer at the Shaboom Boom Room in 1970s San Francisco who offers her audiences plenty to look at compared to her lackluster co-workers. Everything seems to be going her way until macho lover Rod (Mario Diaz) is murdered attempting to share some damning information about his employer Mall-Wart. After a cheesy musical interlude Detective Jack Hammer (Seton Brown) questions Champagne thinking she is just an ordinary hooker off the street. Taking matters into her own hands she dons her outrageous undercover costumes to find some answers. Champagne eventually learns that the popular street drug Booty Bumps are mind-controlling speed shots causing diarrhea side effects in users. Mastermind dealer and Mall-Wart CEO Dixie Stampede (Matthew Martin) begins to develop her plan for world domination as Champagne uncovers the devious operation.
Sending up 70’s cop procedurals, daytime melodramas, and disco musicals this film is filled with broad humor that goes full tilt. For a stage show adaptation, this film handles action scenes, framing, and setups better than most comedies twice its budget. While this dragsploitation feature is no Black Dynamite, this spoof operates with plenty of confidence and a visual vocabulary that is never amateur hour. The winks at the camera as if a live audience were out of reach and gives the already goofy proceedings a nod to fans of the hugely popular stage production. While digital effects aren’t up to snuff, their limitations are hilarious on their own.
Where Shit & Champagne works well is once Drollinger gets Champagne into undercover mode. The hijinks of the character waitressing at a Mexican restaurant or working maintenance at Mall-Mart are combined with gorgeous location shots around the city by the bay. It all works so well like a Zucker Brothers or Mel Brooks bit. Up until then, the plotting has mostly been defined by stage-lifted jokes to develop the humor quotient and give every scene plenty of goofy melodrama. Scenes with Champagne’s adopted half step-sister (and the highest paid calf model in the world) Brandy (Steven LeMay) are utterly hilarious but it all seems to drag a bit (no pun intended).
Performances are campy, over-the-top, and loaded with hilarious moments. Everyone is fully committed to the jokes and premise from the start. Don’t worry newbies! Those who haven’t seen the stage production won’t be lost at all. It's an enjoyable camp comedy that takes a formulaic premise and has fun with it. I’m excited to see what Drollinger and crew are cooking up next.
Shit & Champagne may deter audiences based on the title which is a bummer considering how funny and enjoyable this film can be when Drollinger and crew are burning up the screen. While comparisons are difficult, this niche effort feels like it was made for a midnight movie crowd ready for a good time.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Shit & Champagne arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Utopia and Vinegar Syndrome. The Region A BD-25 disc is housed in a transparent case. Loading the disc offers the Utopia logo before landing on the Main Menu screen with scenes from the film playing above typical navigation options.
Shit & Champagne arrives on Blu-ray with an impressive HD image in the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Colors are vivid and dynamic with piercing fluorescents occupying every frame of this brash campy whodunnit. Fine detail within clothing and facial textures is evident throughout the feature allowing us to get a closer look at the fantastic makeup work and costuming. Inky blacks allow nighttime scenes and the darkened Shaboom Boom Room to appear with plenty of depth and detail within shadow and low light. Contrast levels are stable throughout the feature with color saturation high allowing for the disco color palette to sing brightly.
Shit & Champagne arrives on Blu-ray with a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track that carries the proceedings confidently. Dialogue is clear and clean without distortion or hiss allowing audiences to hear every sharply enunciated syllable of the performances. The mix is nicely balanced giving plenty of atmospherics and scoring elements to the surround channels placing you square in the campy action. LFE is sparse but appears during heightened action scenes like Dixie slapping Sergio’s ass and some music cues.
Utopia and Vinegar Syndrome provided enough features here to please fans of the film and those who've come to adore Drollinger's stage production.
Shit & Champagne may not win audiences with the title but Drollinger’s campy exploitation spoof is an energetic caper filled with committed performances and enough humor to keep audiences hooked to the end. Utopia and Vinegar Syndrome bring the film to Blu-ray with a stellar A/V package and a few bonus features for fans to chew on between rewatches. While broad comedy is always a hit I gotta say this one is For Fans Only.