Picks and Pans Review: Cross Dressing

updated 07/17/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/17/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Bill Fitzhugh

All of a sudden, Father Michael, a good-guy Catholic priest, finds himself feeling ill in L.A. His evil twin brother, Dan, a scuzzy advertising exec, lends him his health insurance card. The poor padre's situation turns fatal. Insurance fraud charges loom. Faster than you can say "altar ego," Dan dons clerical attire, assumes his late brother's identity and finds himself trying to save a woefully underfunded mission run by the selfless Sister Peg. And eew, Dan has the hots for her.

If this comic novel—propelled by a wild plot but populated by characters as flat as flounder—sounds like a movie, well, it is, or soon will be. Author Fitzhugh (Pest Control) sold the rights for $1.25 million to Universal before Cross Dressing was even published. On top of that, Fitzhugh, himself an ex-adman, wangled a deal to plug Seagram products in the book. (Oh, how our Dan loves his Scotch.) Seagram, it so happens, owns Universal, and by the time Cross Dressing premieres, Fitzhugh may have gotten a piece of the popcorn profits. (Morrow, $24)

Bottom Line: Bit of a drag

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