By Ty Burr
July 16, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Hollywood never really figured out what to do with Dudley Moore. The elfin actor (who died in March 2002) came out of the same British sketch-comedy scene that birthed Monty Python, found fame with fellow comic Peter Cook in ”Bedazzled” (1967), then stumbled into mega-stardom with ”10” (1979) and ”Arthur” (1981) before running aground in an increasingly limp series of romantic comedies in the 1980s. Wholly Moses! is an early distress signal, a wholly unfunny comedy that rips off ”Life of Brian” by casting Moore as Moses’ brother-in-law, who thinks HE’S the chosen one. There are cameos by Richard Pryor (good), Jack Gilford (better), and Madeline Kahn (best), but also the five most dreaded words of late-’70s cinema: ”Special Appearance by Dom DeLuise.” Crazy People is Moore’s last leading role before serious decline set in, and it’s cute enough: He’s a Madison Avenue exec who goes bonkers, only to discover that his mental-hospital pals write brilliant ad copy. ”People” costars Hannah, who was entering her own Hollywood black hole at the time, but what sticks with you is Moore’s barely concealed bitterness over a brilliant career that somehow vanished. ”Wholly”: D-, ”Crazy”: C+