George Getty commits suicide by stabbing himself with a barbecue fork. James Fletcher Chase, J. Paul Getty's fixer, reports to Paul about what happened. Paul wants the suicide aspect covered up. Chase obliges. At the house, Getty's butler Bullimore takes care of everything around the massive Getty estate.
Getty's sons are all disappointments to him, or dead like George. He worries over not having an heir to his fortune and company. He is cruel and short to his harem of four girlfriends, Belinda, Luciana, Margot, and Penelope (his "main" girlfriend), and uses drugs in order to try to have sex with them (often to no avail).
The family assembles for George's funeral, where Getty gives an impersonal eulogy. Three of his sons, John Paul Jr., Gordon, and Ronald complain about him in the bathroom. Gordon and Ronald both claim they don't want to take George's place as the successor. Former drug addict John Paul Jr. secretly wants to and speaks to his wife, Victoria, about approaching his dad for a second chance.
While John Paul Jr. is trying to speak to his dad at the wake, his hippie teen son John Paul Getty III (also called Paul) arrives and stirs things up.
Getty Sr. and Paul begin to bond over their shared love of art, and Getty begins to think that Paul can one day be his successor. Paul, meanwhile, just needs $6,000 from his grandpa to pay off his debts back in Rome and save his girlfriend from the men who are after them.
Getty takes Paul to one of his oil rigs and explains how the business works. He reiterates how drugs have destroyed their family and emphasizes how important it is for Paul to stay away from drugs. Paul claims he doesn't use drugs.
Getty eventually offers Paul the $6,000 he needs in exchange for six months of work on the oil rig, the same place where George and Paul's dad started off. Paul is hesitant to accept it, but agrees when Getty offers him a check upfront. Meanwhile, the girlfriends gossip about Paul's upcoming spread in a magazine.
Getty throws a party to welcome his new African friend, Teresa. He leads the girlfriends to believe that Teresa is yet another new girlfriend who will be joining them, and they're all anxious about it. At the part, it's revealed that Teresa is actually an African lion. All of the women, except for Penelope, run away in terror. Getty posits that this is because Penelope is the most loyal.
During dinner, John Paul Jr. tries to speak with his dad about becoming his successor, practically begging to do anything he wants and go anywhere he wants. Getty embarrasses his son by publicly announcing to all of the guests that the younger Paul will eventually be his successor. John Paul Jr. is infuriated and embarrassed, storming off, followed by Victoria.
The two argue and John Paul Jr. eventually decides to torch his son's chances by telling Getty about the explicit, nude centerfold in Playmen and showing it to him. Getty is horrified. John Paul Jr. reasons to Victoria, on the car ride home, that he couldn't allow Getty to fund his son's drug addiction, trying to claim that he revealed this to protect Paul.
Getty is distraught about Paul's apparent vices, including drug use. His doctor injects him with a non-approved and non-regulated drug to help him perform sexually. It works and he has successful intercourse with Belinda.
Meanwhile, Bullimore delivers a one-way plane ticket to Rome to Paul, who is distraught that he won't be getting the money he needs from his grandpa. He complains about never having wanted to be a Getty at all. Bullimore surprises Paul by hugging him and urging him to stay far away and never come back if he wants to avoid being a Getty.
One week later, Paul is running barefoot in Rome, on drugs and apparently having the time of his life. He goes into a club and kisses a female bartender there, before seeing a man who is following him. He halfheartedly evades the man briefly, before being caught at a fountain. Knowing that he's about to be kidnapped, Paul doesn't fight back and even puts the bag on his own head before a group of men take him away in their car.