Kristina Feliciano
October 03, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Nonessential but not to be written off entirely, thanks to some winning interpretations: ”On a Slow Boat to China” (a duet with Barry Manilow, one of the CD’s coproducers) is crisply merry, and ”Tenderly” is suffused with dusky restraint. Midler is clearly in her element with these songs, which Clooney recorded in the ’50s. But she might have avoided novelties like ”Mambo Italiano” — if you thought its modest charm had already been exhausted, this labored rendition could bring out your resentful side.

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