October 04, 1991 at 04:00 AM EDT

Simply Mad About the Mouse

Current Status
In Season
Michael Bolton, Harry Connick Jr., Billy Joel, Bobby McFerrin, Ric Ocasek
Walt Disney Pictures
Buena Vista Home Video
Kids and Family, Musical
We gave it a B-

The idea behind Simply Mad About the Mouse — to have stylistically varied pop stars performing songs from Disney films — is so good you can’t help but wonder why nobody’s done anything like it before. Of course, somebody has: producer Hal Willner, with his 1988 album Stay Awake (A&M). It featured such non-mainstream types as Tom Waits and the Replacements, and as such had a subtext — i.e., that there were dark, adult concerns lurking around the edges of these seemingly innocent songs. But Simply Mad has nothing on its mind beyond commercial success and consequently is a lot less interesting.

Ric Ocasek’s ”Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” (with cute Disney animated animals) has an interesting air of demented glee. Unfortunately, the tape also has such misfires as ”The Bare Necessities,” by a too-pleased-with-himself Harry Connick Jr., and an overwrought ”A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” by faux-soul singer Michael Bolton. And none of it so visually compelling that you wouldn’t be better off with the simultaneously released, cheaper CD. Or for that matter, with Stay Awake. B-

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