Salt Lake City doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being one of the hipper cities in the United States, but apparently even the people who are actively trying to introduce a little good-natured fun to Utah can run into a fair amount of trouble. That’s the lesson that a Salt Lake City theater named Brewvies recently learned when it had the nerve to serve alcohol during a screening of Deadpool, which happens to be rated R. Brewvies has been hit with a violation by the state’s Department Of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and is now facing a fine of up to $25,000 and a 10-day suspension of its liquor license.
This comes from the Salt Lake Tribune, which helpfully explains to any non-Utahns that the state has a law on the books preventing “the showing of films, still pictures, electronic reproductions, or other visual reproductions depicting sex acts, simulated sex acts, genitals,” and “etc.” in places where alcohol is served. Deadpool, a movie where the main character literally cuts off his hand at the wrist, also happens to include a montage where Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin have a number of holiday-themed sexual encounters, or as the DABC puts it, “male and female characters are shown having sex while nude.” The DABC investigation was conducted by three undercover agents who were given the unenviable task of ordering some beers and watching Deadpool, and their report also notes that there is a scene during the end credits in which an animated Deadpool rides on the back of a unicorn and “rubs its horn briefly until the horn shoots out rainbows (simulating orgasm).”
Brewvies—which was hit with a similar fine when it served alcohol during a showing of The Hangover Part II—is fighting this, with the theater’s attorney (and former Salt Lake City mayor) Rocky Anderson pointing out that the Deadpool showing is protected by the First Amendment. Therefore, he says the DABC cannot legally restrict how the movie is shown, whether alcohol is present or not. He also references a court case regarding alcohol being served where “topless and bottomless dancers, nude entertainers, and films displaying sexual acts are shown,” but he claims the two cases are “universes apart” since Deadpool is “still being shown throughout the state, and is receiving extremely positive reviews.”