Shit & Champagne is a movie that is completely critic-proof. Your enjoyment will rely largely on your ability to embrace the absurdity of the concept and high camp factor. It does exactly what it says on the tin—based on a stage production, Shit & Champagne charts the tumultuous life of runaway stripper Champagne (director/writer/lead star D’Arcy Drollinger). When her fiancé and half-sister Brandy (Steven LeMay) are murdered, Champagne takes matters into her own hands to find justice. A shadowy villain who screams for a “triple Nelson” desperately tries to stop Champagne from uncovering the sinister underbelly of Mal-Wart (a riff on Wal-Mart).
It didn’t take long for me to figure out the mood and heightened reality presented in this movie. It starts with an old-school “feature presentation reel,” then tours us through the seedy drag club in which Miss Champagne is the main attraction. From here, it hops from one wildly over-the-top scenario to the next. Whether it’s a vibrant music number after a death, shitting yourself over “booty bumps”, Brandy’s dramatically overlong demise, or Champagne’s pulpy one-liners like “I think your record’s got a scratch cuz you keep singing the same tune”, there’s truly something here for everyone.
It is pure John Waters, 70’s-style kitsch and camp. Poop jokes, quotable dialogue, hammy over-acting performances, and a playful but ridiculous atmosphere throughout—Shit & Champagne is equal parts outrageous and so-bad-it’s-good. Drag Race All Stars winner Alaska Thunderfucks shows up in a memorable smaller role as a Mall-Wart manager. Every member of the ensemble delivers consistently exaggerated performances that I can only imagine would be uproarious in the energetic comfort of a theater setting. Take a bow, D’Arcy Drollinger, for giving us a memorable cult instant-classic that will appeal to lovers of LGBT camp a la Polyester.
Shit & Champagne pops the cork, streaming on Altavod September 7th, followed by Amazon Prime and Apple TV on October 12th.