Would you be any more equipped to survive the supreme awkwardness that is meeting up with a stranger — with whom you’ve only exchanged three photos, a love of Louis Armstrong, and a brief string of winking emojis — if you had your own superpowers? Probably not.
Restless Short Films just released the follow-up to last year’s viral hit “A Relationship in 5 Minutes.” In “Superhero Tinder,” two superhumans meet up to ponder the life of crime-fighting post-Giuliani, share one too many beers, and bumble valiantly through karaoke.
Set at the bOb Bar in the Lower East Side, actors Autumn Stein and Alan Rosetti had little to go on except a rough outline, some makeshift costumes, and their own improvisational skills. But they wittily nailed the essential aspects inherent to all first Tinder dates — the nerves, the lingering eye contact, and the equal parts charming and awkward moments when we’re not sure which side of ourselves to present. Filmmaker Court Dunn, who last year deconstructed the modern relationship into a bite-size dose, says that “Superhero Tinder” sort of happened out of nowhere, but partially grew from his ever-growing urge to tell an online dating love story. “Perhaps it was the culmination of 10 jaded years in New York, or the culmination of one jaded year following the unexpected success of a viral video,” he explains.
Dunn is not the first to parody the bizarre rise of hook-up apps and the virtually anonymous dates they spawn. The radical cultural phenomenon that is Tinder has seen a lot of recent off-shoots such as Tindergarten, Tinderella, or the viral cautionary tale Local Attraction. All highlight the glaring omissions, flirtatious conversations, and attendant anxieties that come about when meeting someone who, it is assumed (rightfully or not), you will bed that same evening.
It might be a silly premise, but “Superhero Tinder” still points to our collective desire to grab onto those fleeting moments of both chemistry and misconnection. Dunn tells me, “I hope everyone can at the very least take away from the film some small moment of nostalgia when they might have met someone unique or special for the first time, maybe not a superhero per se, but one of those rare individuals that it might take a million swipes on Tinder to find.”