D’Arcy Drollinger wears many hats (and wigs) in her new movie Shit & Champagne. The drag icon stars in, writes, and directs the action comedy based on her stage play of the same name. Set in 1970s San Francisco, the film centers on Champagne Horowitz Jones Dickerson White (so she’s been married a few times, it’s none of your fucking business!) a foxy stripper caught up in a tangled plot. She witnesses her boyfriend Rod’s murder at the hands of two hired goons (Manuel Caneri & Adam Roy) and sets off on a quest to find out who had him killed. That person turns out to be Dixie Stampede (Matthew Martin), an evil mastermind with a dastardly plan involving hard drugs and big box retail. Champagne vows to take down Dixie and avenge Rod’s death.
It only gets more outrageous from there, but that’s intentional. Champagne is a send up of Blaxploitation films from the 70s, except with a white lead this time. So Whiploitation? It’s supposed to be over the top. Drollinger does a nice job of balancing the zaniness with well written comedy. It’s ridiculous in the best way possible. The production quality is great as well. At one point, Champagne and a goon get into an insane knockdown fight in a small bathroom. The sequence looks like something out of a mainstream movie with a larger budget. Well, minus the death by plunger.
Drollinger’s performance is the heart of the movie. She moves easily from sex kitten to clown and back again. Without her charisma the movie wouldn’t work. She gets ample support from Martin, the best campy high-kicking villain, and Steven LeMay, who plays Champagne’s ill-fated adopted stepsister, Brandy. LeMay steals every scene with her comedic timing and perfect calves.
If I have to offer any criticism, it would be that Champagne’s runtime is a little long and the leading man, Detective Hammer (Seton Brown), is dull. Aside from that this a dragtastically entertaining movie.