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Utah theater fined for showing "Hangover II" movie

A Utah movie theater that serves liquor has been fined more than $1,600 for showing "The Hangover Part II."
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Utah movie theater that serves liquor has been fined more than $1,600 for showing "The Hangover Part II."

The fine issued by the state liquor board Thursday is the first for Brewvies, which only allows people 21 years and older to attend their movies and serves food and liquor to patrons. But under state law, many PG-13 and R-rated movies could net the theater a fine because of prohibitions on showing a film with sex acts, full-frontal nudity or even the "caressing" of breasts or buttocks.

While the fine for the first offense was $1,627, repeat offenders may be fined up to $25,000 and lose their liquor license for up to 10 days.

The law is generally used to regulate strip clubs, which aren't permitted to have nude dancers — g-strings and pasties are required to be worn — if they serve liquor. The law is applied only to businesses with liquor licenses, so it wouldn't apply to alcohol-free theaters.

Utah Highway Patrol officers issued the citation against Brewvies in early September after a complaint was filed with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The movie was in violation because of multiple scenes, patrol spokesman Dwayne Baird said. "Hangover II" includes full-frontal nudity from male, female and transvestite characters and also has a scene showing a monkey simulating a sex act on a monk.

Brewvies manager Andy Murphy told The Salt Lake Tribune they have always complied with the state's liquor laws, and "don't want to shake up anything."

Brewvies got a state liquor license in 2009 that allowed patrons to have wine and mixed drinks. The theater has been open since 1997, but served lower-alcohol beers that only required approval by the city government.

The liquor board established the fine amount for such violations, and there wasn't leeway in the amount for Brewvies, department director Francine Giani said, adding that she's planning to urge the board to revisit their fine schedule.