Originally intended to be the last film set in the Askewniverse, or to feature Jay and Silent Bob, Strike Back features many characters from the previous Askew films, some in dual roles and reprising roles from the previous entries. The film was a minor commercial success, grossing $33.8 million worldwide from a $22 million budget, and received mixed reviews from critics.
After getting a restraining order from Randal Graves (Clerks) for selling drugs outside the Quick Stop, Jay and Silent Bob find out from Brodie Bruce (Mallrats) that Bluntman and Chronic, the comic book based on their likenesses, has been adapted into a film in production by Miramax Films. In response, the two visit Holden McNeil (Chasing Amy), the co-writer of Bluntman and Chronic and demand royalties from the film. However, Holden tells Jay and Silent Bob that he sold his part of the creative and publishing rights of the comic over to his former friend Banky Edwards. Upon learning of the film, as well as the negative reaction it has received so far on the Internet, the two set out on a quest to Hollywood, to prevent the film from being made and tainting their image, or at the very least receive the money from the royalties owed to them.
On the way, they befriend an animal liberation group, consisting of four women: Justice, Sissy, Missy, and Chrissy; and one man, Brent, who they had picked up for the cause. It is revealed that the organization is a front; Brent is a patsy, intended as a diversion by freeing an animal from a testing laboratory while the girls rob a diamond depository nearby. Jay tricks Brent and throws him out of the van in order to get closer to Justice, with whom he is smitten. Justice, who becomes close to Jay and Silent Bob (particularly the former), reluctantly accepts the two as the new patsies.
While the girls are robbing the diamond depository, Chrissy farts loudly enough to set off the alarm, forcing them to break the glass and steal the diamonds. While this is going on Jay and Silent Bob free the animals and take an orangutan named Suzanne with them. They escape outside to see the police arriving and the van exploding, which they believe has killed the girls.
Jay then takes the orangutan with him as a memorial to Justice. Quickly afterwards, Federal Wildlife Marshal Willenholly (whose name is taken from the three characters in the TV show Land of the Lost: Marshal, Will and Holly) shows up at the scene. Blinded to the diamond heist, he claims to have jurisdiction because of the large number of animals that escaped. He learns that all the animals have been recovered except for the orangutan. The officers then find and watch footage of a video Sissy recorded of Jay making remarks about "the clit", claiming to be "the Clit commander". The literature accompanying the tape says that "Clit" is an acronym for Coalition for the Liberation of Itinerant Tree-Dwellers. Willenholly blindly finds this as an act of terrorism and calls for police support to hunt down what he considered "the two most dangerous men on the planet."
When the officers later have the trio cornered inside a diner and threaten to open fire, Jay and Silent Bob dress the orangutan as a child and walk out, claiming that they want to get their "son" out of the danger zone. Willenholly, thinking about the political repercussions of arresting a gay couple, decides to let them leave, but he quickly realizes his mistake and resumes the chase. When they jump into a sewer system, only Willenholly himself follows them while the other police officers, led by the Sheriff, leave him, and he is soon tricked into jumping off of a dam.
Having escaped the law, Jay and Silent Bob once again return to their quest to reach Hollywood, only to have Suzanne taken by a Hollywood animal acting agency car. Now on a quest to rescue Suzanne and clear their names, the two arrive in Hollywood and find themselves in the background of an E! News newscast about their online threat against Miramax. Justice watches the news and takes the diamonds to Hollywood to set things right. Marshal Willenholly learns of their mission to reach Hollywood and leaves to find them.
After a long chase with studio security and reclaiming Suzanne from a fictional Scream 4 in production, Jay and Silent Bob end up in Jason Biggs and James Van Der Beek's dressing room, where they quickly realize that these are the actors that will play the roles of Bluntman and Chronic. Suzanne beats both of them up effortlessly and Jay and Silent Bob assume the roles of their characters. Production staff throw them on stage with racist director Chaka Luther King, and they must engage in a duel with Mark Hamill playing a comic book supervillain called Cocknocker. Eventually Willenholly arrives to capture Jay and Silent Bob, but Justice arrives to save them. Justice admits that the CLIT organization was not real and that the two were used as a diversion while she, Missy, Sissy and Chrissy, were stealing jewels. As the rest of jewel thieves arrive, a climactic final battle ensues, after which Jay and Silent Bob get their royalties to the film from Banky, and Justice turns herself and her former team in to Willenholly in exchange for a shorter sentence and letting Jay and Silent Bob go.
The film ends with Jay and Silent Bob spending their royalty to locate everyone who expressed negative opinions on the internet about the movie and characters, ranging from kids to clergy, and traveling to their towns to beat them up. The scene then cuts to everyone leaving a movie theater, having just watched the Bluntman and Chronic movie and expressing negative reception. Jay and Silent Bob, with Justice and Willenholly, then go across the street to enjoy a performance from Morris Day and The Time.
After the credits, God closes the View Askewniverse book.
The film was originally titled "View Askew 5" and the title was changed to "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back". Filming began January 11, 2001.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back grossed $30.1 million in the United States and Canada and $3.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $33.8 million, against a production budget of $22 million.
The film grossed $11 million in its opening weekend, finishing third at the box office behind two other comedy sequels, American Pie 2 ($12.5 million) and Rush Hour 2 ($11.6 million).
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back received mixed reviews from critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 53% based on 151 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Fans can expect a good laugh as the cast from Smith's previous films reunite for Jay and Silent Bob's last bow. The loose plotting and crude language may be too much for others though." On Metacritic the film has a score of 51 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, writing that "[w]hether you will like "Jay and Silent Bob" depends on who you are ... Kevin Smith's movies are either made specifically for you, or specifically not made for you". Adam Smith of Empire gave the film 3/5 stars, writing that "[w]hen it's good it's very, very good, but when it's bad it's offensive", and noting that "the gag hit/miss ratio is really only about 50/50". Scott Tobias of The A.V. Club wrote that "[e]ven at a slim 95 minutes, Jay And Silent Bob lets initially funny scenes trail off into long-winded monologues and silly digressions", and Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times called the film "[may]be the greatest picture ever made for 14-year-old boys. Mr. Smith may have hit his target, but he aimed very low."
Music from the Dimension Motion Picture: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, the soundtrack to the film, was released on August 14, 2001 by Universal Records. Varèse Sarabande released the original score by James L. Venable. It alternates film dialogue with songs of various genres that appear in the film. It features the 2001 Afroman hit, "Because I Got High", whose music video featured the characters Jay and Silent Bob.
- Interlude: Cue Music – Jason Lee as Brodie Bruce – 0:03
- "Jay's Rap 2001" – Jason Mewes as Jay – 0:32
- "Kick Some Ass" – Stroke 9 – 4:05
- Holden on Affleck – Ben Affleck as Holden McNeil – 0:28
- "Tube of Wonderful" – Dave Pirner – 1:45
- Cyber Savvy – Ben Affleck & Jason Mewes as Holden & Jay – 0:07
- "Choked Up" – Minibar – 2:58
- Doobie Snacks – Jason Mewes as Jay – 0:08
- "Magic Carpet Ride" – Steppenwolf – 2:43
- Jay & Justice – Shannon Elizabeth & Jason Mewes as Justice & Jay – 0:11
- "Bad Medicine" – Bon Jovi – 3:55
- Stealing Monkeys – – 0:08
- "This Is Love" – PJ Harvey – 3:45
- Advice From Above – – 0:23
- "The Devil's Song" – Marcy Playground – 2:52
- Idiots vs. The Internet – – 0:06
- "Tougher Than Leather" – Run-D.M.C. – 4:23
- Willenholly's Woe – Will Ferrell as Willenholly – 0:09
- "Bullets" – Bob Schneider – 4:22
- Touching a Brother's Heart – Jason Mewes & Tracy Morgan as Jay & drug dealer – 0:23
- "Hiphopper" – Thomas Rusiak featuring Teddybears STHLM – 4:46
- Two Thumbs Up – Chris Rock as Chaka Luther King – 0:07
- "Jackass" – Bloodhound Gang – 2:26
- A Smooth Pimp and A Man Servant – Jason Mewes as Jay – 0:16
- "Jungle Love" – Morris Day and The Time – 3:03
- NWP – Chris Rock as Chaka Luther King – 0:14
- "Because I Got High" – Afroman – 3:18
In August 2001, three weeks prior to release, the film came under fire from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), for its "overwhelmingly homophobic tone", which included an abundance of gay jokes and characters excessively using the term "gay" to mean something derogatory. The scenes deemed particularly offensive included Jay's vehement refusal of giving oral sex to a male driver when hitchhiking, and Jay chastising Silent Bob for being willing to perform fellatio on him to get the security guard to let them go. Following an advance screening of the film, former GLAAD media director Scott Seomin asked Smith to make a $10,000 donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, as well as to include a reference to GLAAD's cause in the ending credits.
On the bonus DVD (176 minutes), Smith explains in the on-camera intros of the deleted scenes that several scenes had to be cut from the theatrical release, due to the film initially receiving an NC-17 rating from the MPAA. He also mentions in the audio commentary of the feature film that it took three submissions to the MPAA for the film to earn an R-rating.